Pectus Excavatum Repair Part 2 - Exercise Routine to Improve Chest Appearance

This is Part 2 a continuation from Pectus Excavatum Repair part 1 and this hub will discuss specific exercises you can try to help your pectus excavatum condition.The main question in managing pectus excavatum is how to pull forward the sunken sternum and bring the chest wall outwards and forward.  

Steps to improve your Pectus Excavatum  

When improving your pectus excavatum through exercises the following steps should be followed in sequence in their daily exercise program.  

These are  

1. To increase the mobility and flexibility of the spine and chest wall. 

2. To lengthen any tightened and shortened structures. 

3. To strengthen muscles in elevating and expanding the depressed chest wall. 

4. To restore normal posture.   

The first two steps are to mobilize the articulating joints and to lengthen any tight soft tissue around the chest wall so that less impedance will be encountered during the elevation of depressed chest.   

The Daily Routine

 1. Forward arm stretching in pone kneeling

The patient is positioned in an inclined prone kneeling position with hands stretching forward and  supported by wall bar (about 2 to 3 feet high from ground) Slowly lower his upper body and press his scapula (are around underarms) towards the floor. Experience the stretch feeling around the underarm and shoulder. Hold 8 seconds (may get a deep breathe and hold to increasingly stretch the chest wall) and release. Repeat for 20 times and 4 sessions per day.  

Purpose: Stretch all anterior chest wall muscles especially pectoralis major (main pec muscles) and extend the upper back. 

2. Upper trunk rotation in standing The patient is to stand side on to a wall. The hand closest to the wall is put on the wall a bit higher than the shoulder level. The patient’s pelvis turns to the opposite side while still leaving the hand fixed on the wall. A stretch is felt at the anterior shoulder and upper chest wall.

Hold 8 second, then release and return to the original position. Take a rest and repeat on the other side. Repeat for 20 cycles and 4 sessions per day.

 Purpose: Rotation gives the greatest range of movement for thoracic vertebrae (fancy word for spine) allowing stretch to ligaments, muscles and joints around the chest wall in a different direction.

 3. Upper trunk side flexion in sitting 

The patient is seated on a chair. Side bend to one side with the opposite hand crossing over the head to another side. A stretching feeling is felt on the other side of trunk. Hold 8 seconds (may get a deep breathe and hold to increasingly stretch the chest wall) and then return to the original position. Take a rest and repeat on the other side. Repeat for 20 times and 4 sessions per day. 

Purpose: Similar to the 2nd exercise 

Strengthening Exercise

1. Weightlifting in stretch supine lying

The patient is positioned in supine with the upper trunk on a small foam roll around 2 to 3 inches in diameter (if patient can’t tolerate, just lie flat). The arms are put in an upward stretched position. The hands should hold on a fixed wall bar or hardly movable weight about 10 inches from the surface of the bed (pillows may be used to support the weight) . Deeply inspire and exert maximal force in lifting the wall bar or weight. Hold 8 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times as 1 lot. Take rest then and repeat another 2 lots performing a total of 30 repetitions and 4 sessions per day. 

Purpose: By the technique of “reverse origin and insertion”, the arms are being fixed and the anterior chest wall is lifted up mainly by the pectoralis major and minor. Maximal force exertion allows recruitment of surrounding respiratory muscles for training. The foam roll under the upper to middle part of the trunk exerts postero-anterior force to the thoracic spine helping in extension, which mobilizes and corrects any unnatural bends in the back (poor posture related usually). The depressed chest will also be “opened” up facilitating the elevation of the chest wall. Arms, being in a mid-length muscle range, are capable to exert the greatest force to elevate the depressed chest. Tone of pectorlis major is built up for better posture and outlook. 

2. Upper trunk extension in prone lying

The patient is positioned in prone lying with one or two pillows under the tummy (avoiding the lower anterior chest pressing on the pillow, area where lungs and heart are keep pillow lower down) . The hands are placed behind the head. The feet may be fixed on wall bar. Deeply inspire and extend the upper trunk with arms arching back. Stay and hold 8 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times as 1 lot. Take rest then and repeat another 2 lots. Perform a total of 30 repetitions and 4 sessions per day.  

Purpose: The strengthened upper back muscles help to balance the improved muscle force of the anterior chest wall muscle. This prevents the development of Poor back posture due to strong anterior muscle pull and keeps a good posture.  

3. Push up

The patient is positioned in prone lying and both hands are used to push up his body. The level of difficulty depends on the actual ability of the patients (1st level – upper trunk pushed up, 2nd level – whole body pushed up in one piece, 3rd level – push and clap both hands in mid air). Start with the 1st level and when the patient is able to finish the level easily, he may proceed to next level). Repeat 10 times as 1 lot. Take rest and then repeat another 2 lots performing a total of 30 repetitions and 4 sessions per day.   

Purpose: The exercise aims at general strengthening of the chest wall. Moreover, the high intensity but low frequency impacting force may be advantageous to stimulate remodeling and shaping of the chest wall deformity. Bone mineralization may also be enhanced.  

4. Hands up and down movement behind and by the sides of body (with theraband or stretchy rope/velcro)

The patient is positioned in sitting or standing with both arms in a stretched position. Each hand holds one end of a theraband or a spring (resistance should be set at 10 repetitive maximum, RM, i.e. theresistance that one can perform 10 repetitions but no more). Then stretch the theraband and maintain the elbows straight . Slowly put the hands behind and pass by the sides of body and then down below buttock. After 3 seconds rest, the hands slowly go up and along the same track to the starting position. Repeat 10 times as 1 lot. Take rest and then repeat another 2 lots performing a total 30 repetitions and 4 sessions per day.  

Purpose: The exercise is used to strengthen the neck, shoulder, upper back and anterior upper chest muscles. It can be treated as a kind of stabilization exercise to the upper thorax.  

Pectus Exercise Products

Gaiam Superthick Fitness Mat
Gaiam Superthick Fitness Mat

I use a mat similar to this for my pectus excavatum exercises as I used to bruise my skin around my flared ribs, very painful

Hugger Mugger Foam Roller (Blue)
Hugger Mugger Foam Roller (Blue)

Foam Roller, good for the exercise where you put the roller behind your back to provide an extra arch to really stretch that sternum out

Mueller Adjustable Back / Lumbar Brace, 9" high, OSFM - fits waist size 28-50" Stretched - Black
Mueller Adjustable Back / Lumbar Brace, 9" high, OSFM - fits waist size 28-50" Stretched - Black

I own a brace like to help bring in my flared ribs ,remember not to where it too tight can really bring those ribs back into position, good thing about this style is that it can be moved up and down your torso unlike some other posture braces

Max Fitness 65cm Exercise Ball with Foot Pump (Pearl White)
Max Fitness 65cm Exercise Ball with Foot Pump (Pearl White)

Basic Exercise Ball, very useful for stretching exercises to help loosen up tight back and chest muscles before exercising


Posture & Pectus Excavatum

The most important aspect of improving pectus excavatum appearance is your posture and working on general posture correcting exercises will help bring your sunken sternum back to a normal chest position, good luck and remember to consult your doctor before commencing any sort of physical or exercise program and most of all take it easy. I also recommend a yoga mat for some of these exercises definitely beats breaking your ribs on a hard floor. Any questions, leave them in comment area   

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Comments 317 comments

Thomas Vaughan  7 years ago

I have pectus excavatum I am 19 and 6,8 tall. I play college baseball and we workout everyday but I never gain weight or get bigger. Why?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi Thomas, I think that's more of a fitness bodybuilding question and pectus excavatum wouldn't really affect it much apart from making your bench press a little off balance.

I am around 6,5 and I managed to put on some muscle, what's your diet like? maybe your burning more than you put in leaving nothing left to build muscle with. You say you workout everyday when does your body have time to repair and rebuild muscle.

ren 7 years ago

thanks for the artilcle!! I will try it.. I'm an indonesian and we don't have PE surgeon here. I'm waiting for more solution 2 improve my PE.

Btw I'm 6,4 it seems that tall people are prone to PE..

Daniel 7 years ago

I have PE, i`m form Mexico and we do have surgeons to theat PE, but i`ve heard that is a long recovery process, and also it`s kind of expensive, and to be honest, it`s not about the fact that I cannot breath normally (Thanks god I don`t have a severe problem) it`s about the stetical aspect, and I talked w/a plastic surgeon and there`s a procedure to put like a GEL inside the muscle, and It`s cheaper, It only take 40 mminutes the treatment, you can be doing exercise in 14 days and it fix the stetical problem. Here in Mexico that treatment is 15,000 MX... that is like 1,100 DLLS. So check it out and maybe it`s a solution for you...sorry 4 my english... our first language is spanish. Good luck to everybody.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

thanks for the comment Daniel, the gel insert definitely sounds like a much better pain free operation for people with only moderate P.E.

the surgery is quite invasive and you are stuck with a bar inside your chest for a while

Marty 7 years ago

Hi, I am 6,3 a have pectus. I tried these exact exercises about 4 years ago to try improve my PE. my physio encounted the article and we agreed we would try it out. The exercizes sure changed my chest but certainly not for the better, instead of the excercizes pulling out my sternum they pulled out the left side of my chest, so it now sits about an inch higher than the right side and you can notice it with a shirt. I live in Australia and it isn't a recognized thing here so I'm on my way to saving US$60k so I can get a nuss, I'll be about 25 by the time I can afford it.... Unless I win lotto! Hood luck all, chest pulled out because I have a bit of scholiosis.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yea sounds like the scholiosis played a big part , a lot of people where posture vests to make sure that they still maintain there posture while exercising.

and if your in Australia no need to head to the US for the surgery , there is a NUSS specialist in Melbourne alex auldist at the royal childrens hospital first guy to be doing the nuss surgery in Australia, has been doing it for ten years or so.

Spalding 7 years ago

I have a mild to moderate case of PE.. i weight train and i thought it would help the overall appearance somewhat, but just read somewhere that doing this can cause it to look worse. what do u think? ..maybe a combination of your exercises mixed with weight training? also its very difficult to see gains in the chest muscles with this condition

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

people do say you can make it worse by doing chest work, this is mainly because there is no muscle you can work around your sternum and making your pecs bigger will just create a deeper hole.

I have had decent gains with my chest, and the only thing I notice is that it may affect your balance because your PE may be more to the left or right. You will probably notice one pec is considerably smaller than the other depending on how uncentered your PE is. goodluck spalding :)

jeff 7 years ago

You think pull/chin ups are a good or bad thing for my PE?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I don't think pull/chin ups would really affect your PE at all, its doesn't really target any surrounding muscles .

I don't think there is such thing as a bad exercise as long as you keep proper form and maintain neutral posture.

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jack clown 7 years ago

hey does this exercises like make your ribs normal like the others instead of surgeries?And, with these exercises including part 1 if i do it daily how long will it take for it to fix my ribs cause i want to have a body shaped built body and alot of people say eww when they ee my dent =( please answer.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

the best exercises for improving flared ribs is lots of abdominal work, heavy and endurance exercises. Other than that people have great success using bracing and when i wear my brace I can feel them being pushed it, you just have to be consistent wear your brace as much as you can.

And no one can tell you how long its up to how much you put in and how severe your P.E is. goodluck

ronnie 7 years ago

hello :), my son is 14 and i do not want him to have any operations, but i would like to help him repair this deformity. which exercises have you done and is your P.E at the stage where you could consider it a normal outlook?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi ronnie, at the moment I do a basic weights program with bit more focus on core strength as well as wearing my posture brace now and then. important thing for your son is to make sure he maintains good posture and develop flexibility as PE causes muscles to be tight or overstretched which may pull your posture out of shape.

something like yoga or swimming are great for loosening up tight muscles and helping to maintain good posture apart from that any physical exercise will help.

and at the moment my PE is getting closer to normal just have to do some more work on my flared ribs and push out the sternum a bit more, my PE was already quite mild to begin with

ronnie 7 years ago

thank you for your help and advice.

so how long did it take you to get your p.e at the stage where it is now? and can you tell that it is there?

my son is going for the short term, but i realise it will take long term.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

probably around 6 months to 1 year, but I saw improvement quite early due to having poor posture, its amazing the difference it makes in just a few weeks of doing posture correcting exercises.

yes you can still tell I have it and I do still have some way to go like a lot of people I have not been very consistent and i really should make time for it, but I am sort of at the point now where I don't find it that much an issue its more the flared ribs that frustrate me

ronnie 7 years ago

thankyou . seeing as my son is only 14 could he see a better imrpovement as his bones are still flexible?

Jessica 7 years ago

Heyy. Im 15 years old (a girl) and have PE. I have been trying these exersizes for a while now, but have not seen a noticable difference. I am a figure skater, so i have excellent posture, but I don't know what else I can do with out getting surgery (which sounds like an extremely long painful process). Do you have any suggestions for me?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

ronnie - yes the younger the better as your bones do harden up by the time you are around 20 years old

Jessica - I think you will have to be a bit patient :) and hang in there the results can take up to 3 months or more. I sometimes asses room for improvement by standing up straight with my hand clasped behind my neck. I then take deep breaths into my chest and breath out slowly. After doing this for 5-10 minutes I can really feel my sternum trying to push out.

ronnie 7 years ago

can i just ask, after you personal exercise has it just been your posture that has improved or your posture and sternum?

thank you for the advice :)

i will write again after a couple of months to tell of my sons progression :)

Vanja 7 years ago

Looks like tall people really are prone to PE. Im 15, and I'm 1.98 meters tall. Really liked the excercieses. I've been swimming proffesionaly for a while now. It really helps with expanding the chest.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

ronnie - to begin with it was mostly my posture that improved which made really noticeable improvements and then I worked more on pushing out the sternum and pulling in ribs to there correct positions.

Vanja - yeaa swimming is really great for it , great for increasing lung capacity and expanding the rib cage, I know what you mean about tall people having it I am around 1.86 meters

ronnie 7 years ago

sorry to bother you again, but you just pointed out pulling in the ribs? what exercise can you do with that?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

well for me stretches that involved stretching the trunk around worked well as well as broom twists. apart from that doing my abdominal work with my brace on helped to bring in the ribs.

just wondering.... 7 years ago

So I am 18 and I have P.E a mild case and I am curious if I do enough weights and exercise along with eating lots of proteins and gaining more muscle weight will my P.E be unnoticeable? I really hate dealing with it but I am not looking to have surgery. Is this the right way to go about getting rid of the P.E visually?

michael york 7 years ago

i was wondering in terms of centermnetres how much you can improve your pectis

Neller 7 years ago

Hi, and thanks for the pectus exercises.

I was always under the impression that exercise would not be enough to alter PE. I am interested in seeing the results of you work expectus. Do you have any photos before and after?

I totally agree that posture greatly affects the apperence, but posture does not cure the problem, does it? Will these execises actually move the sternum further away from the spine and has it done so in your case? Very intersted in finding out.

Again, thanks for posting this info...

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

usually just putting on muscle wont fix the hole as there is no real muscle surrounding the sternum so you will have to do exercises focused at aligning the spine and bringing everything back in line as well as working on pushing out the sternum.

michael york - I have prob only fixed mine about 1 cm or so mine is pretty mild at the moment.

Neller - sometimes posture is enough to make a bigger enough improvement that the person is happy but usually you do need to do a bit more for me , for me the best thing for moving my sternum out was wearing my posture brace while doing deep breathing exercises. and regarding pictures I will try and get some together and post them up here.

Andrew 7 years ago

I have PE and im 16 and tall. My PE is pretty deep and i don't care how i look. im more afraid of having surgery. i did go to my fiseo a while back and he gave me exercises for my posture but ive sort of stopped until now when ive found out that i have PE. im doing the breathing exercises and the normal exercises from my fiseo. if i keep doing it will i be safe from heart murmus and chest pains?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi andrew, its hard to tell if it will be safe, a chest scan is the best way to check how close any of your organs are to damage.

I would think that your physio would have noticed your PE so the exercises should be relatively safe, but if you have any pain you should stop immediately

Andrew 7 years ago

Thanks heaps. he noticed it but didn't say anything bad about it. ill keep doing the exercises and see if it gets any better.

Thanks so much dude. your awsome :)

Michael york  7 years ago

My pectis only goes in about 1.5cm or maybe 2cm max at the moment. But i still have a couple of years to grow will it get much worse as i grow becaause the surgeon said it wouldn't?. Also because mine only goes in about 1.5 cm does that mean with these exercises i will be able to get rid of it totally and if a can how long will that take?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

happy to help Andrew :) goodluck with the exercises

Michael York - your PE sounds very mild which is good news and its definitely possible to fix it with exercise , not sure if it will get worse as you get older but as long as you exercise and keep good posture you should be able to improve it. Time it will take is up to you and how often you exercise

Michael york 7 years ago

Sorry to keep bothering you but are the 4 exercises at the top of this page the best ones to do to improve i or are there other ones. And what do you think is the best exercise out of all of them to improve it?

michael york 7 years ago

and how do you do dunbell pullovers

Andrew  7 years ago

Im a bit freaked out at the moment. ive started these exercises and i looked in the mirror thismorning and it looks like its gotten deeper. is it just me going insane or can it acctually get worse by doing these exercises. im really scared cos im afraid it will get worse :(

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

you should do a combination of the exercises to hit different area's, strength , flexibility and other issues

Andrew, it is possible if you do them incorrectly but I'm not sure but you may be rounding your shoulders more or not maintaining neutral spine posture which may effect how it looks. a dramatic change from just a few days is very rare you have to watch your form when you do these exercises. goodluck

andrew M 7 years ago

I took notes on everything you said. Though i know i wont have the energy or time to do as many reps and cycles in a day, i will do the best i can. I have a mild case and had not noticed anything until recently(im 18, 5 foot 8). When i was born my ribs poked out but my parents were told it would go away on its own. I feel my breathing restricted around my sternum and my shoulders have been rounded for as long as i can remember.

Are there specific things you can do when you sleep to improve posture or this condition?

Thank you Expectus and merry Christmas. Im confident these exercises will work.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

goodluck Andrew M, for the exercise just do the strength related ones every second day to give your muscles are rest, the stretching exercises can be done daily.

2. Upper trunk extension in prone lying - is especially useful for rounded shoulders due to clasping the hands behind the neck.

for sleeping you can help to make sure you maintain good posture, when sleeping on your back put a pillow behind your knee's and when sleeping on your side a pillow between your knees helps to maintain good posture. its a bit of pain to juggle a pillow but you will get used to it, just a small thin pillow will do :)

flavio 7 years ago

i'm 19yrs old. I haven't had my PE checked yet, and is worried with the complications it could bring. Just wanna ask, is Pe affected by one's diet? (i don't eat fishes and vegetables. D:

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I don't believe PE is effected by the diet but some say it can be caused by certain deficiency's in birth that give the malformation of the chest.

don't worry about the fishes but eat your vege's mr flavio :P

mido 7 years ago

i am 14 years old, i am 5,5. i have a mild, but noticable pectus. i was wondering if there were any excercises i could do make my pectus less noticable.

michael york 7 years ago

If i did just breathing exercises i.e deep breaths for say a couple of months could i see a noticable improvement in my pe. And also because my PE only goes in about 2 cm could i get rid of it completely, with the right exercises ? Thanks

sam 7 years ago

i have a minor case of PE and i have been doing these excersizes for about two months. i have seen a small improvements but i have not been doing them as much as i should be. usually about once a day and i miss a day every once in a while. im gonna start doing them in the morning and at night now but i was wondering if working out the chest and ab muscled would help expand my chest and fill out my PE? If anyone knows anything about that i would appriciate it.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

mido you can try the exercises on this page, or try dumbell pullovers people find them effective.

I believe its possibly to notice significant improvements and eventually have a completely normal looking chest.

sam - working chest muscles are good the only problem is there is no muscle around the sternum to really fill it in with. doesn't mean gaining muscle on your chest is a bad thing I find it a great way to push out my sternum when I do a chest workout.

Michael york 7 years ago

Because my pe is reasonably mild the whole doesn't bother me so much, the thing that reall bothers me is my bop belly apearance due to my flared ribs. What is the best way to combat this? And also if your previous answer you mentioned how it is possible to get a normal looking chest, however could you acheieve this judt through doing breathing exercises. Thanks expectus

sam 7 years ago

do doing the excersises more times a day really have a large effect on how much of an improvement you see. and how long does it normally take for someone to see significant results. by the way thank you for running this site. the problem is much more common than one would think and also many people do not want to reveal there problem and having something like this to help them is great.

sam 7 years ago

is it possible to grow out of PE

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Michael York - first of all you would have to do more than just breathing exercises to fix your PE, unless of course it is very mild. As far as the flared ribs and pot belly go getting a posture vest , to pull your shoulders back and push your ribs in will help a lot.

My ribs are still slightly flared and it doesn't give me a pot belly appearance as I worked hard on my posture, i believe its more your posture that contributes to your pot belly not the flared ribs, but bracing works well for flared ribs as well as abdominal training

Sam - depending on the type of exercise I would only do them once every second day, especially strength exercises. No point burning your muscles out , give them time to recover. Of course you can do stretching and breathing exercises daily. Its not unheard of to grow out of PE but usually as you go into your teen years it gets a little worse.

Michael Jones 7 years ago

Is a pe of 1.7 cmconsidered very mild, and if it is could i get rid of my pe by using a brace quite easily. Thanks

jack 7 years ago

in the exercise programs it says to do push ups. won't this worsen the p.e as it give you bigger peck muscles?

sam 7 years ago

sorry about not being clear, i meant the stretches listed on this page. Would doing those stretches more often give you faster and better results.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Michael Jones - Yes you could get rid of PE using a brace and exercise but it could take sometime, and its impossible to tell how long really depends on how well you respond to exercise

jack - i think there are more benefits than bigger pecs, its true bigger pecs can make your pe look worse, but pushups can help with posture, as well as strengthen core muscles and strengthen up overstretched back muscles due to PE.

sam - doing stretches regularly will help, remember to stretch after any weighted exercise not before to prevent injury.

Michael Jones 7 years ago

is 1.7 cm pe very mild ? and what is the best way to measure it using things you mkight have round the house rather than going to a doctor

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I would say a tape measure or just a piece of string then measure that.

Michael jones 7 years ago

If you don't mind me asking how big is your pe?

Captainplayhard 7 years ago

Hey, pretty awesome article expectus, really quite useful. I'm also, a 19 year old 6ft5 guy, with fairly mild, but noticable really does seem to be a tall thing, which is pretty annoying. I think it definitely has something to do with the amount of exercise you do when you start growing taller through puberty. Needless to say, I totally regret not doing any. I have some experience in the gym, but I was wondering, do you think lifting weights as heavy as you can manage in a dumbbell pullover would be more benifcial than just lifting a comfortable weight?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Michael Jones - around 1-2 cm deep its not as bad as it used to be

Captain - yea I do think it would be more beneficial to go heavier weights without injuring yourself ofcourse, you don't want to pull anything. The main aim is to breath in deep into the chest as you bring the weight down above your head and then push with in a fluid fast motion back to a vertical position.

You could always do a bit of both heavy and moderate weight after your muscles tire from the heavy weight.

Michael Jones 7 years ago

How bad did it used to be ? And so how much have you improved it? Do you think the main reason it got better was because of your posture brace or these exercises ?

And also are you hoping to get rid of it in the future complelety?

Thanks sorry for all the questions

Joe Hayes 7 years ago

Hey, Michael. Great article. I've just got one question, which is what brace do you have, as well as how much is costed and where to buy one.

Joe Hayes 7 years ago

Oops, I meant "Hey Expectus".

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

it used to be considerably worse and the main thing for my case was definitely posture, i cringe when i see what my posture was like when i was young.

yes I am hoping to get rid of it completely but like everyone its hard to stay consistent.

Joe Hayes - as far as the brace goes any sort of posture brace that covers the ribs works fine. I sometimes use a simple back brace to tie around my rib area to help during exercises.

Michael Jones 7 years ago

So when you are talking about posture do you mean your pe improved by wearing a brace or just by improving your general posture when walking.

Also i have tried to improve my posture by walking with my bacj stright and chest out.... but this has only seemed to have made my flared ribs worse which gives me a bop belly appearance. Is there any exercises to improve flared ribs.


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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Improved by wearing a posture brace and consciously reminding myself to pull my shoulders back.

I think using a brace may be the best bet you may be over compensating and going the opposite way, getting more anterior tilt perhaps.

I use a brace that pulls shoulders back in pushed against my flare ribs to bring everything in , without having uneven posture

Andrew 7 years ago


my pe is about 3cm deep but i can still breath normally and play sport and run and stuff. would u still call it severe pe. cos im scared heaps. also im thinking about doing the dumbell exercises aswell. do you wreakon it will work fixing it. thanks

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

you can try the exercises on this hub they should help a lot and cover all bases including flexibility and strength. and that's great its not stopping you running or anything but it doesn't mean you don't have treatment options because the surgery is considered cosmetic.

sam 7 years ago

is there any way to correct flared ribs without having surgery

Andrew 7 years ago

so your saying by cosmetic that i don't have to have surgery but it is an option to make it look better. sorry if im asking to many questions or confusing u.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

you can try a posture brace that brings in your ribs to help correct the flaring

and yea its considered a cosmetic surgery so its pretty much open to anyone and you don't really need to prove you need it even though that does help

Lee 7 years ago

Hello, would you be so kind and recommend a schedule or at least post your routine (past or present)? I'm looking for a very strict and tough pectus routine to possibly improve my condition how ever long it takes.

Also how severe was your condition? Because I'm still uncertain these will work for all severities.

jake Tomlinson 7 years ago

Hey, I'm 16 and have PE. I'm 6,3 and like 145 pounds(pretty skinny dude).I would say my chest is 2-2.5 inches deep. Judging from everyone else this seems pretty server. i have been doing weights pretty heavy for the last 3-4 months. mainly focusing on my back. but it seems like my chest is getting worst. my first point is do u think i should see a GP about it? i haven't seen a doctor in ages because they are all very vague. my mother says she saw a specialist when i was younger, but i don't think that's at all relevant, as my body has changed, right? i would swim more, like u say to do, but if u had a hole this deep going to the swimming pool isn't such a great thing. anyways i would love you to get back to me asap

cheers mate

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Lee - well a good way to do the exercises on this page is to do stretching exercises 1 day and more strength type exercises on other days so that your muscles have time to recover.

mine was a lot worse than it is now, mainly due to fixing my posture, i like to check my posture by standing up straight and locking my hands behind my neck, then I breath deeply to get a good push on my sternum

doing exercises with a bracing can also help to bring your flared ribs in if that is a problem for you,

Jake Tomlinson - does your PE cause you any breathing problems or chest pains, that's problem the main time you would need to see a doctor. its true the GP's are pretty hopeless most of them I see just tell me to live with it and there's nothing you can do, I say this to everyone but what is your posture like I am very similar height to and used to be very skinny , for me nothing beats bracing , heavy weight exercises for the chest and breathing exercises.

i know what you mean about going to the pool people tend to stare sometimes but once your in the water they can't really see, backstroke is great for loosening up tight back muscles and getting some flexibility in your chest wall to loosen it up

jake Tomlinson 7 years ago

Well I have only really cared about my PE lately because i have had some very strong pains in my chest when i was running, my chest felt extremely tight. the previous day i was at the gym and was working on my chest and biceps. normally it doesn't effect me afterwards and it was just a normal session. but it continued for a few days now and i'm starting to get worried. The pain that i had was much like that of when i am sitting poorly, with my back hunch. but as soon as i get that, i bolt upright. but, i'm going to see my GP on monday and see what he has to say. i was also told by a friend of mine who works as an osteopath that doing heavy negatives might help it. i train loads and much like one of the first guys on here i fine it so hard to put on weight. you asked him if he was getting enough calories, but i know that i eat loads. but i also add to my normal heavy eating with protein shakes. its another completely different probably. but the few pounds i have added feel that they have gone onto my chest. in-turn pushing it further in. this is what i think has happened anyway. i'll see what the doctor has to say and i'll post again :D cheers for the quick reply :D

jake Tomlinson 7 years ago

oh and my posture isn't wonderful. my lower back bends and my upper back is more or less impossible to move. it have quite a tight rib cage. and the more working out i do the more it seems to tighten!!!

roman 7 years ago

which has a better effect dumbell pullovers, or the 1st weighted exercise above?

by doing weighted exercises can it bring out my sternum far?

Lee 7 years ago

Hi, thanks for response. If I was to do only a combination or breathing (Daily) and upper/lower chest excersise (Weekly) would that decrease the severity in your opinion? Also keeping posture, but it's tough for me because I sit in a chair all day at work.

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

jake - sounds like you really need to do some stretching and loosen up some of those tight muscles , and as far as putting on weight or muscle there are few other things apart from just calories , like testosterone plays a huge role in how much muscle your body can put on , i think negatives will help you put on muscle but it sounds like a posture problem that is causing your back pains, I used to get the same thing had to get an ergonomic chair and look after my back more.

roman - do you mean the first strength exercise as the dummbell pullover and that exercise are pretty much variations of each other, the sternum is hard to actually focus on but it can help

Lee - yes it definitely should help , breathing and posture exercises make a bigger impact in a shorter time though, for me anyway

roman 7 years ago

what do you mean the sternum is hard to focus on?

thanks for your time

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

well there is no muscle in the actual sternum which means you can just use weights to build up sternum muscle

Keyumi  7 years ago

I'm a girl and I have PE, What exercises would you suggest for me to balance out my right boob with my left. Because as of right now, my right boob is smaller than my left boob. My PE is mild and my doctor does not consider me doing the nuss, because he said i'm fine and he doesn't want me to go through the pain. But I just want to fix my uneven boobs.

Jake Tomlinson 7 years ago

Hey I'm back again

Well i went to my doctor and finally we have a break through. I have been referred to a specialist and i'm going to try and go through with the surgury. my PE is pretty nuts and the more i think about living a life without the constant thought about my chest, the more excited i get. I'm not sure how long the whole process is going to take, and i'm not even sure u can tell me that, but you seem to be a bit of a guru on the subject so i'll throw it out there. anyways i'll check back soon to see what u say and then i'll post after i speak to the doc!


I think what your doing expectus is really good by the way. giving free helpful advice is uncommon these days. Your a nicer person for it! Thanks for the help:D

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Keyumi, sorry for the late reply keyumi , its a bit of a tricky problem as the sunken sternum is very rarely positioned right in the center of your chest which means one of pec muscles will also be smaller which means uneven boobs. With that being said the best way to even them up would be to either simply work on building muscle on the smaller side (maybe with one sided dumbell flys) or just use exercises on this page to push out the sternum as much as you can, its pretty normal to have uneven boobs though most girls do

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Jake - that's great news glad you are making some progress, and i believe the whole process takes 2-3 years but depending on your age and how much it bothers you some people leave it in for longer. and always happy to help :)

Keyumi 6 years ago

Thanks for the advice. I've been using some techniques and yoga techniques also, I see progress. But I don't do it on a daily.

jack 6 years ago

are there any exercises that i can do to improve my biceps without causing a deeper P.E?

Sam 6 years ago

I thought that I had pectus excavatum but really I just have flared ribs that make my chest look indented. Does anyone know where to buy a good brace or excersizes to get rid of flared ribs.

Alex 6 years ago

I may have missed it reading through, but can slouching in a chair make the chest deeper? I'm 15 and and about 5'something and I have been noticing its been getting deeper and its making me nervous. So I was wondering if something I've been doing made it worst or its just growing that way.

Ted 6 years ago

Can the way you sleep effect anything

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Keyumi - yoga is probably one of the best things for PE

jack - there is no connection between biceps and PE, sounds like you should start with compound exercises and try and put on some muscle

Sam - flared ribs can be fixed with a posture brace that pulls back shoulders while pushing in ribs, you can find them off amazon or even at your chest, i sometimes use a simple back brace to pull in ribs. Also abdominal work and deep breathing helps to align everything

Alex - slouching definitely makes your PE looks worse and can lead to poor posture, start standing up straight and being more conscious of your posture.

Ted- Not that I know of but for me it was hard to sleep on my stomach as it would put strain on my ribs but sleeping with good posture is always a good idea, when on your back have a pillow behind your knees and a pillow between your knees when your on your side to straighten the spine.

Ted 6 years ago

Thank you

Alex 6 years ago

Relating to the sleeping thing that Ted said, I'm most comfortable on my side. On my back my stomach feels awkward and on my stomach the flared ribs like you said are not comfortable. So there wouldn't be anything bad about sleeping on my side would there?

random 6 years ago

Hi, should I do dumbbell pullovers every day or should I have a rest day between? I've been doing pullovers for quite some time now and I do like 4 times a day 60 reps with 20kg pullovers.

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Alex - sleeping on your side is probably the best option, sleeping on your back is also quite good as it allows you to take deep breaths but it can be feel strange sometimes.

random - you should always have a rest day , no point burning your muscles out. higher reps are better just focus on the deep breath in , experiment speed of lowering and raising the dumbbell to see which hits you pe more.

jack 6 years ago

what exercise can i do to improve my bicep muscle without increasing my pec size or getting a demp p.e dent?

David 6 years ago

Hi, my pectus is about 3.5 to 4 cms deep. Is this considered moderate? do u think it can be fixed with these excercises?

I also have flared ribs so i thought about doing lots of lower pec workouts (with some upper pec). Think this can help?

Also doesn't the upper ab muscles kinda go into the center chest area?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

jack - if you worried about increasing pec size when exercising your biceps, stick to isolation exercises. you really don't have to worry though just do basic exercises my favorite is weighted wide grip pull ups.

David - yes it is quite moderate and I do believe you can but it may take some time. Not sure that lower pec work will even target the flared ribs at all, the best thing would be oblique, and ab exercises. posture and stretching exercises help a lot to bring everything back into a normal position.

its true that abs sort of lead into your pe but there is no real muscle in your sternum so you can't really build muscle to cover it up.

Sam 6 years ago

Does the Mueller back brace work well for bringing in flared ribs and how long do you think it would take to see results from it.

Michael York 6 years ago

Hi expectus, my pe isn't too bad about 1.5-2cm but im thinking about getting the surgery. Im really scared because its really painful however i think its worth it because its really bothering me as its giving me a bop belly appearance. Do you think if it bothers you that much then you should just go though with the surgery because it would be life changing.


Vlatko 6 years ago

hey i'm 23 is it to late to start the exercise,and which one are best for this age

CRAIZI-J 6 years ago

right, im 18 and i have pectus, its quite mild but i have flared ribs too, it has always been on my mind about this but then i never really give it any fort, i would love to get rid of it, it would be like a dream come true however i don't fancy a big scar on my chest :/ anyways im gonna try some of the exercises u suggested as i work out 4 days a week so gonna give them a blast and il let you know how i get on with them, the biggest thing i find is when i look at my self in the mirror when i sit down my ribs stick out so much and my hole shows up so bad its like :( but yh thanks dude.

Trevor  6 years ago

Ok im 15 and i have PE and its around 2-3 cm in. If I were to do these exercises right now and not wait till im older do i have i better chance of improving my PE?

BON 6 years ago

Hi! Expectus,

My age is 19 and i have PE. Its mild but its really notisable coz of my pecs. I go for Gym daily and have observed muscle growth but on both side of chest and have a big Gap in between. Would ur all suggested Exercises help me out..

Pls can u suggest me some well suited effective exercises.

I Just want to be normal like others.


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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Michael York - sorry for late reply, first of all don't just jump into the surgery thinking it will solve all your problems for some especially those who don't do maintenance exercises fall back into what they looked like before the surgery. I'm sure you wont but make sure you read up on the surgery and talk to a specialist.

Vlatko - they say its best to exercise before the age of 21 as the bones are more malleable but I have heard of much older people even in there 50's doing exercise and getting benefits

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

goodluck CRAIZI-J

Trevor - its hard to say but starting breathing and exercises and stretching exercises would be a good place to start if you are unsure of weighted or strength exercises.

BON - first of all there is no muscle around the actual sternum so no amount of muscle would help, the aim is to return the sternum to its original position with the above exercises, stretching and breathing routines.

Trevor 6 years ago

Thanks for the help ill start doing some breathing exercises and streching exercises but i have 1 other question, how long do you think it will take to improve it to the point where its barley noticeable?

Trevor 6 years ago

Or ya, btw, do you know which type of streching exercises i should do for my age. Thanks again for the help.

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Trevor- it really depends on how severe or moderate your PE is now and how consistent you are with exercises and stretches, basic yoga exercises and stretches are usually especially ones focused on trunk rotation and loosening tight back muscles

john 6 years ago

hey expectus

im 15 and have a PE of about 1.5-2cm

do you reckon by doing the breathing, stretching and dumbell pullover exercises i will be able to make a noticable improvement in 3 months?

Trevor 6 years ago

Thanks for the help.

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

john - I believe you can make a difference in 3 months, while doing the exercises always keep an eye on your posture cause some people focus too much on exercise and let posture slip.

Jordan 6 years ago

Hi expectus

My name is Jordan, and I am twelve years old (going on 13) and 5,8. But I am also confused. I know I have an indent in my chest, but im not quite sure whether it is pectus excavatum or not. It doesn't look like the pictures of pectus excavatum, but people still notice there is an ident and i do get teased. My question is are you familiar with this and if so will your exercises still work to help the indent?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

its natural to have some indent and everyone's chest is different , sorry to hear your getting teased happened to me a bit too when I was young but I just tried to not let it worry me. Exercises should still help if it is pe or something similar otherwise check your posture first of all, breathing exercises and good posture can help a lot

Jordan 6 years ago

Alright, but do you think that doing lifting would make the indent in my case?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Lifting wont make your indent worse, the only way it may look worse is if you grow bigger pecs giving the appearance of a deeper indent

Jordan 6 years ago

Can you leave your email address, so I can continue asking you questions but I don't have to take up space on the page?

Jordan 6 years ago

Oh, and I think I have scoliosis because i went to the doctors a few days ago. Does this mean if I do your excersises I will have one side of my chest bigger than the other as well ):?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

you should email me via the top right hand menu that says "contact expectus" so we don't have to leave our email's on the page. Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine so it will affect posture and in turn your PE appearance. As far as making one side bigger than the other its very common for that to happen as pe is very rarely directly in the center.

Evan 6 years ago

what type of brace do you recommend to help with PE?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Evan - a sturdy posture vest/brace that also covers the front of your chest and rib area, as most of them are only concerned with the back you also need a strap or belt type thing across your ribs to help pull them in.

Alex 6 years ago

I was born with PE and when i turned 9 years old i had surgery for it where they put a bar inside my chest for 2 years. everything seemed fine and dandy until they took it out. ALthough my chest is better than it was without the surgery it is still very noticeable that i have a sunken chest. I curious to why that is. I had the surgery and i thought my chest would be normal again. I currently play college basketball and lift a lot and im pretty sure it has no affect on my strength. Basically im just really self-conscious about it. Is there anything i can do about it now after i had surgery? and also im curious to why my chest sunk back down.. was it because i had bad posture after i got the bar out?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

alex - did you do the routine exercises prescribed your physician , breathing exercises, stretching etc... its really important to do them to get the most benefit from the surgery

fixing posture will definitely help but apart from that exercises and stretching focused on your chest and back should help

David 6 years ago

Expectus did you had surgery for ur PE?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I saw a specialist a while ago and he said he would be able to do the surgery for me but I decided against it as my PE is quite moderate , so trying to fix it with exercise

johnny 6 years ago

Hello Expectus,

I am 25 years old, 5'10 and weigh about 120 lbs. As you can see I am extremely underweight, and it seems my PE is about 3 cms.

I was thinking that i may be getting a bit too old for these excercises to really help my severe PE too much, and was wondering if you knew a doctor in the Los Angeles, California area where i would be able to go to try and the corrective procedure done. Luckily i am covered by a PPO but not too sure if they would be able to cover some or all of the procedure. Thanks in advance!

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yes it is possible but it can take a lot of work and time depending on how severe your pe is and how malleable your bones are.

all i could find was

Steve C. Chen, MD FACS

Co-Director, Pediatric Surgery

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

8635 W. Third St., Suite 1150 W

Los Angeles, CA

(310) 423-2331


Robert D. Acton, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Surgery & Pediatrics

Dr. Eric W. Fonkalsrud

Department of Surgery

UCLA Medical Center

Los Angeles California USA

(310) 825-6712

Steve C. Chen, MD FACS

Co-Director, Pediatric Surgery

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

8635 W. Third St., Suite 1150 W

Los Angeles, CA

(310) 423-2331


c/o Pediatric Staff 4NE

Cedars Sinai

8700 Beverly Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA, 90048

Los Angeles California

Los Angeles / Long Beach, California

Daniel M. Bethencourt, M.D.

Director, Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery

Long Beach Memorial / Miller Children's Hospital

2865 Atlantic Ave., Ste 205

Long Beach , CA 90806

(562) 988-9333

Lane 6 years ago

I am a fairly large guy 6'1" 225 lbs at an age of 15. I also have pectus excatvatum which a fault of almost 1.5 inches or nearly 4 centimeters. I have been told this is a fairly mild case but after reading some of the comments here i have to wonder how bad it really is. I use to have severe chest pain which have gone away and i have to ask if it could have been associated with P.E. because the doctors i saw could not give me any answers that were even plossible. I also would like to know if P.E. could somehow distort your chest so one side is more pronounced. And as for flared ribs, only my left side is aparently flared or could it be the distortion? I am also considering getting operation because i can deal with pain but my question is would it inhibit my ability to (1 lift wheights (2 play football (3 wrestle? Also would any P.E. surgeries fixxed said flared ribs?

Thank you

Lee 6 years ago

I think the best solution is to bulk up. What are your thoughts? If I put on 50lbs and hit 200lbs would it make it less prevalent?

I've improved posture and while it makes a minor difference nothing is going to improve the sternum position.

oli 6 years ago

hey expectus, im 15 and about 5'6 im pretty skinny anyway but my pectus makes it look worse. the dip is about 3.6 to 4 cm but its the flared ribs that bother me the most. is there anyway i can cover them up with weight training or something?

6 years ago

Hey expectus,

I want to thank you for the info and exercises you're providing. I should be in asleep right now but I had to read all this PE info. I'm a 22 year old dude and have always been pretty self conscious about my PE.

Not sure how deep mine is but I'd say it's moderate, maybe 2-3cm (just a guess really).

I'm excited to start the exercises!

Lately I've been doing some deep breathing exercises to calm my mind, but when I do the deep breathing exercises I feel my chest expanding inside. It feels like I'm pushing my chest/pectus out.

It's a little uncomfortable but feels like it's what my chest should be doing (expanding even more).

I've heard about PE surgery before but don't want to go through the pain. Plus sometimes the results look "unnatural".

I'm starting these exercises tomorrow.

Anyway just wanted to thank ya for sharing =)

Carmody 6 years ago


Im in the same exact scenario as K, and i just wanted to thank you for all of your hard work answering these comments and coming up with these exercises!! I cant wait to try these out and hope to see progress.

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Lane - yes its very common for one side to be more pronounced, for me my left pec is a lot smaller than my right. Same thing with the flared ribs they will flare more on one side unless by some miracle your PE is directly in the center of your chest.

as far as repairing ribs go you can try some vests or posture type devices people use to help bring the ribs back into position, and the surgery will help in the same way as once the sternum is pushed into a more normal position the ribs will also follow.

Lee - I agree that bulking up can help, not a stupid bulk though a nice clean bulk so you don't put on too much fat, I feel my sternum click every now and then when I lift weights and it seems to help push it out.

oli - you can try a posture vest that push the ribs back into position, use at your own risk thought I am not really qualified to advise but there are companies out there making vests for people with PE, it can take quite a while but its just like pushing your ribs back into a normal position can be a little painful and you have to wear it 24 hours a day. weight training will help a bit, stretches and abdominal work.

K - breathing exercises will definitely help, the thing about breathing techniques for calming meditation usually require you to breath deeply into your lower abdomen, which is all good but its not going to help expand the chest out, try a bit of both for me I find it hard to breath deep into the abdomen as it seems the pe restricts it a bit and I end up with half breaths. goodluck K

Goodluck Carmody I hope they help you, the main thing is to stay motivated and do the exercises, and if you feel any pain you should stop immediately.In my case I do feel some pain as after all it is pushing your bones around a bit :)

Norwegian 6 years ago

Lay flat on your back in bed at evening and mornings, without pillow. Put one of your palms a little above the center of the pectus, breathe deep, and focus energy towards the pectus, lifting it up towards the palm. This has helped me filling in. Thanks for a nice page

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Nice exercise Norwegian :), positive thinking and visualization go a long way towards correcting pe, much like correcting anything.

Matt buku 6 years ago

Hi I'm fourteen and I've very mild pe

I've been lifting for about a year on my lower pecs and upper abbs and o feel like it has helped but the indent never fills because there is no muscle there what would be the exersoze that works the fastest

Matt buku 6 years ago

To fill the center of my indentation also my pectus us smack in the middle of my chest so it does not cause my pecs to be uneven

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

the exercises on this page help most people, hows your posture and have you tried deep breathing exercises.

Matt buku 6 years ago

I've never tried these exersuzes but I've been told I have great posture

Trev  6 years ago

Hey Expectus,

Great page. I have mild PE with flared ribs. I'm lucky that my PE is very centered. Both my pecs appear to be the same size. I'm closing in on 30 years old and have just started working out about 4 months ago. I do chest training and my pecs are getting bigger and of course this is making my dent look deeper. I was wondering if a posture brace and these exercises will make a difference for me given my age? Can my ribs still be pulled in even though my bones have fully hardened? I'm considering doing the bracing, weight training and ultimately perhaps getting an implant to offset the dent. Your thoughts? Thanks for this great page. You seem very knowledgeable.

MAtt buku 6 years ago

What would you say the fastest working breathing rxersuze is?

By the way this website has been extreenly helpful for me you have helped me out a lot it is by far the best pectus website I've been on i apreciate all the tome and effort you put twirds helping people

Dio 6 years ago

hi expectus, i just wanna ask how would i know that my PE is mild or severe? thanks

Matt buku 6 years ago

Can u let me know how to find out if my pectus is severe it doesn't seem that bad but it's noticable I think the flared ribs make it more noticable

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Trev - It is very possible to fix your flared ribs, it just may take a bit longer than someone in their teens. Pushing the dent out is probably the hardest part to target and for me I find only breathing exercises seem to help but I believe the first step is fixing the flared ribs and posture and from there the sunken sternum will be much less noticeable.

Thanks MAtt buku, no single exercise will help you have to do a combination of breathing, stretches and strength exercises. thanks for the support.

Dio - It's pretty m uch judged by eye, but if ppl get a ct scan it can be diagnosed by how far the sternum is pushing into the body or against internal organs. I'll try and get some pictures so people can decide what category they are in.

Dio 6 years ago

Thanks for doing that expectus. Really appreciate it. This website you create really helps people with PE.

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azzha 6 years ago

i am 18 years old ,and my pectus excavatum is about 2cm ,will doing these exercises reduce it? and is doing bench press bad and will doing dumbbell flies help me?

Jason Walton 6 years ago

I've just seen your website and I think the exercises look brilliant. I am 21 and a student and because of this I can often work till late at night which leaves me about half hour maybe to do exercising. I am moderately toned and have been doing back weights and dumbbell pullovers to help my P.E and I can really here my sternum crack sometimes. is there any kind of shorter exercise I could do? any help would be greatly appreciated.

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

thanks for the comment Dio

azzha - doing exercises should help the appearance of your chest, the bench press can help general chest muscles but will usually result in pe looking more severe than it is, But I find any sort of physical exercise including the bench press help by strengthening overstretched muscles caused by pe. Dumbell flys will be more useful but the best exercise is probably the dumbbell pullover.

Jason Walton - Well for me nothing beats deep breathing exercises and stetches and I can hear my sternum crack as well when I do these exercises. Really simple one, stand up straight nice neutral posture, like your standing to attention, breath deeply in and out of your chest. Clasp your hands together behind your head to help maintain good posture too.

Jason Walton 6 years ago

Thankyou for your reply and I will report progress in a few weeks. I'm happy to have found someone to give me advice on fixing this without the aid of surgery. May I ask if you know if it can be completely rectified without the need for any surgery?

Jordan 6 years ago

Hi it's me again. I have noticed that one pectoral also has an indent in it, but the other is fine. Is there a way to correct this? And also like I mentioned a while ago, I have scoliosis so if I keep good posture while doing these excursuses, can I correct my PE without it being off center? If not, can I do it so it wont be noticeable?

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azzha 6 years ago

Thanks for your reply,one more question is a 2cm PE severe?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Jason Walton - I believe it can and some people have managed to do it but it could take quite a long time of consistent exercise and dedication, good luck

Jordan - well your first priority should be fixing your scoliosis so work on that first before you target your pe , messing with your spine is dangerous, take care consult your doctor first

azzha - I would say quilt mild to moderate

Jordan 6 years ago

Ok, thank you expectus. But one more thing, I recently turned 13 so i'm old enough to use the gym now. Are there any exercises/weights I should stay away from that would make my pectus excavatum worse/ make the indent look deeper

Max 6 years ago

hello there Expectus. Does anyone know how soon after astablishing medical insurance can one get approved for the nuss operation? The excercises haven't helped at all. They just make the dent look deeper. I don't have insurance now but I am about to get coverage independently. Any suggestions on insurance providers which cover this surgery?? Thanks.

Srdjan 6 years ago

I am 15 years old, around 170 CM tall and I've got PE. I will try those excerses I hope they will help me. Tho, I don't like to take my shirt of in public around people who I don't know :\.

Confused 6 years ago

Exactly what are flared ribs?

Jason Walton 6 years ago

hello again. i just wanted to know why does the sternum crack and what does t do when it does? I have upped my dumbell to 16kg to do dumbell pullovers and after a few cracks i hear them no more. has the benefit stopped working by this exercise?

jake 6 years ago

what is your sternum cracking?

is it a good thing?

omar 6 years ago

hi im omar and i have a pretty weird pectus. ive been diagnosed as having p.e. and i have a 3.5 cm deep hole but on the top of my chest it actually pops out. i'm only 14 but i am kind of a workout freak and i have a lot of strength for someone my size(5'5" and 120lbs.) and even though it runs in my family to have broad shoulders and some back muscle i noticed that my shoulders did slouch a bit around two years ago and when i read what you posted about people with p.e. having tight back muscles i noticed that my back muscles are pretty tight too but i haven't worked out in a while. only one of my lower left ribs flares and the left side of my chest sinks in considerably. it worries me that during the last school year my p.e. has gotten worse and even though my pecs cause it to be narrower and deeper, the bone part to the right side of my sternum sticks out further than the actual muscle. but what's more surprising is that when my doctor ran some lung capacity tests on me i have over three times the amount of air in my lungs as a normal healthy person, which caused pain from the pressure on my sternum sometimes. my mom also has p.e. but it's barely noticeable and her brother does too but on the contrary, his got better as he grew older. this really worries me as every day my ribcage looks weirder and weirder with opposite corners sticking out. i suppose i should do some core strength excercises for my flaring rib but what about upper chest ?

thanks in advance expectus !

Will 6 years ago

Hi , my name is Will and i am 23 years old. I have PE , and i have had chest pain and palpitations since i was 18. I really don´t want to go through the painful surgery procedure. And i´m too scared to exercise ,fearing my heart is going to collpase . What should i do?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Jordan - I don't think there is such thing as bad weights, purposely not doing an exercise that will reduce your pe appearance will actually be worse down the track as it will leave you with uneven muscles and I believe you've got to work your entire body so nothing is lagging otherwise posture can suffer.

Max - what area are you in, but usually the wait will be around 3-6 months

Goodluck Srdjan

Confused - flared ribs are ribs that stick out abnormaly, it is natural for them to stick out somewhat (lying on your back, stretching etc) but they can be quite noticeable and usually come with pe

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Jason - it is considered good that your sternum is cracking as its usually a sign that it is being moved by the exercises but there is always a limit to how much it will move. Just because you don't hear cracks doesn't mean the exercise has become ineffective could just mean you need to add a few stretches or lumbar rolls to get your self past a plateu

omar - that's very interesting that it pops out at the top and your also have an indent in the sternum sounds like you may have pe along with something else, possibly even pe carinatum but i've never heard of both in one.

Sounds like you need to work on your posture and working your core to address your flared ribs, you can try some yoga stretches and swimming also helps. You can try a posture brace to help your ribs , shoulders and over upper body strength/posture.

Will - are you palpitations related to your pe or is it something you experience personally. your best option is exercises but if you are experiencing chest pains I would suggest a ct scan to know for sure what is causing them and whether or not the sternum is pushing on your vital organs

Beth 6 years ago

Hey, I have one quick question. I am 21 and tall and along with a mild P.E. I also have Scoliosis. I was just wondering if these exercises would help both or if were any exercises to possibly help with my posture/scoliosis? Also, do you think that my chest will push out awkwardly after these exercises because of my scoliosis?

Thank you!

Jay 6 years ago

Hi expectus, i am 18 and i really hate my P.e what chest exercise do u recommend i am currently doing dumbell pullovers and inner chest press ups what other excersizes are there to reduce the look. thanks alot

Michael York 6 years ago

Can you explain to me a dunbell pullover ?


alex 6 years ago

hey expectus, i have a pe of 2 cm and am almost 16.can you offer me a little guidance on what will be the best way to bring out my sternum, that's what i want to focus on most. thanks

Matt  6 years ago

Hi, i have a p.e of around 2cm but don't have flared ribs. Its more of an even slope into the centre of my chest. Ive started doing the breathing exercises recently and the Weight lifting in stretch supine lying exercise i can really feel lifting the sternum. Do you think these exercises are best for pushing out the sternum?


omar 6 years ago

hi im back. ive been doing some breathing excercises and dumbbell pullovers and the such. as for a posture brace i don't have that so i improvised and used a belt and wrapped it up around my belly and tightened it up a by on my flared rib (haha i think it'll work the same way?) but this has helped me with my posture the rest i guess is up to me mentally cause im so self-conscious about it i tend to mess up my posture whenever im in public. i am considering surgery for the sunken left side but ill have to see how the excercises go along for the next few months. ill keep you posted on the results!

Ado 6 years ago

im 14 years old and worried as i age that my dent will get deeper does this happen

alex 6 years ago


im 16 and i've set myself a schedule to do 30 chest stretching exercises, 15 breathing exercises and 9 mins of dumbell pullovers. i do this 3-4 days a week. do you think i could get my pe of 2cm down to 0.5cm in 3 months?


Pectoral 6 years ago

In my case there is no indent in the sternum, just the pectoral. Does this mean that by doing chest excercises I could eventually correct the indent?

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jack clown 6 years ago

Hi expectus. Well you see my brother had PE when he was 14 years old. And, started working out before he reached 18 years old, and now i see his pic and he doesn't have pectus anymore. And, now i have pectus excavatum and im 13 years old except my brother was 1 year old. So, is it maybe the fact that my brother had good posture caused his PE to not be obviously shown anymore?

mitch 6 years ago

Hey expectus, first off thanks for your work on this site.

Are dips good or bad for fixing PE?

Dips seem to put inward pressure on the chest, and after doing them, I can feel tension in my chest when I stretch.

Thanks for your time

Matt 6 years ago

Hey expectus, could you give me name of the posture brace you use or the website from which you purchases it? And is the brace good for correcting flared ribs?

Also have you ever used a vacuum bell or heard of any success from using one?


Freddie 6 years ago

Hi Expectus. I am 6ft2, 15 and I have mild PE, 1.5cm-2.0cm deep. I am currently doing weight-training 3 days a week and I was wondering whether it is ok to do the strenthining excercises just on my workout days and the stretching excercises every day to allow my muscles to recover properly.

And also is it necessary to complete 4 sessions of each exercise every day. I have a tight schedule and I was wandering whether doing 1 session of the exercise along with other breathing excercises is acceptable and will produce good results.

Thanks Epextus! Really appreciate what you are doing.

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Bunce 6 years ago

Hey Expectus I Was Reading ur Hub And i Want to Say thank you This really has Helped me Gain more Confidence In myself But i Just Wanted to ask i am a 13 year Old Boy and am Around 5ft12 And if i Had Surgeory on My PE Would tht Affect Me in Say Football Meaning i woudnt be able to do as much things Or even if i got hit in the chest with the ball, Would That Damage My PE Even making it worse?

Thanks :D

eric 6 years ago

If you sleep on your back daily to keep your back straight, will this help improve things or no?

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*Diamond Girl* 6 years ago

Hi! Im a newbie and just wanted to get ur advice on my P.E. Im a 36 yr old female and never had sugery for mine. Idk my indention size because when I was younger...dnt know how old i mom took me to a doctor. After all was said a done I didn't get the surgery and he told her what i could do when i got older was get breast implants. See I have P.E but mine is different than anyone ive ever seen. It started out as a hole if thts wht u wanna call it. But as i got older it seemed to shift and my right side is sunk in more. Its like my right side colaspased in??? Idk?? Ive always been very small breasted until now. I did get breast implants and tht has really improved my self esteem. But when u put ur hand on my chest...feel the left side and slowly go aross to my right...u can slowly feel ur hand slide down far on the right side. Im feeling now and u can feel the left bone and then its like no bone or something on the right. They had to make my right breast bigger than the left to make them come out evenly. One bad thing tht u can tell the one breast on the right is bigger around than the one on the left...cuz they had to put more saline in the right one so i wouldn't be lospsided like before. But all in all im happy i got them. Anyways, thts my story and hope i explained it good enough for u to give me a answer on wht and why my chest did this. Thank you sooo much for your time. Sorry, one last thing.. I also have scolois..I think ive heard tht having tht can make ur P.E worse and make ur chest like mine???

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Thanks for the comment diamond girl haven't been able to reply to all comments lately hopefully catch up this weekend

First of all having your pe off center is very natural mine is more to the left and I notice my left pec is smaller than my right and your scoliosis could definitely have exaggerated the placing , I think it would be a good idea to maintain good posture and do breathing exercises to help push out the sternum

Bennyisthename 6 years ago

thanks tomfoolery! Question for anyone, has any of the stuff worked for you yet? I have corrected my posture by sitting up straight, and the past few nights i have slept on my bed with no pillows so my back is straight. Occasionally i stretch backwards and i hear popping noises in my chest. I also do 20 push ups every night. When i read this i measured my depth and it was 2 and a half centimeters deep about a month and a half ago. I just measured it now and it's still 2 and a half centimeters deep. Am i doing something wrong? is there something I should be doing? Has anyone found a stretch or technique that actually works? Please comment PLEASE.

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Beth - having scoliosis may affect your ability to the exercise with good form , its best to address your scoliosis first and then move onto repairing your pe.

Jay - those two exercises are great, you should try some swimming and cardio exercise with deep breathing.

Michael York - take a look at google images for a gif that shows how to do a pullover, most important thing is to use a weight that's manageable and to practice good form

alex - first thing is to work on your posture after that you can tweak your exercise regime to push out the sternum further.

Ado - it is very common for pe to get worse as your reach your late teens.

alex - its possible but its very individual.

Pectoral - if you have no indent, it may just be a case of building some pec muscles to smooth things out.

jack clown - yes its possible that due to his good posture and exercise he prevented it from getting worse or even occuring

mitch - i think dips would work well, especially when you tilt your body forward, it will actually work the upper chest and is great for overall core strength.

Matt - purchased a posture vest from amazon, I don't think it really has a brand name, just one that covers chest and ribs and pulls back shoulders. and I have tried the vacuum bell and really only see it as a temporary solution unless you are very consistent with it.

Fredie - first of all its not necessary to do it 4 times a day if you already have quite a busy exercise schedule. the only thing is i wouldn't recommend stretching before exercises , best to do the stretches after the exercises

Bunce - first of all the sternum is one of the most vulnerable spots on the body and there is no real way to protect it, for example being hit there by anything will cause a lot of pain, the other area's are the neck and private parts :P.

the surgery will keep your out of intense physical exercises for 6 months or more so that's something to think about before going for the surgery.

eric - there is a difference between a straight back and good posture, its best to keep neutral posture, some beds are designed specifically for this otherwise to keep the spine in neutral position you can have a pillow behind your knees when sleeping on your back and between your knees when sleeping on your side.

Bennyisthename - the process of correcting pe can be a very slow one , 1 month is not enough time to access your progress , I would suggest 3 months or more. that's really the biggest battle staying motivated

johnykf 6 years ago

hey expectus im 19years old i had mild pectus before, after doing pull over and breathing squats every day it helped my pectus a lot but still have a small dent, thx god no one of my friends noticed it yet even on the beach, i have some questions: how does breathing squat expand the ribcage? as i realized that only pull over were doing the job but as old trainers said breathing squat with pull over will expand the ribcage i was supposed to do both, wondering if u could tell me how to breath properly while doing breathing exercises + i didn't understand well how to do the exercise "Weight lifting in stretch supine lying".last quest, do u think i'll be able to totally get rid of my pe? thx a lot for ur support mate :)

russel 6 years ago

hey johnykf

i was just wondering how small is your dent now? and how big was it before you did the exercises?

alex 6 years ago

thanks expectus

i was just reading some other comments and wondering

should i do the chest 30 chest stretchs before or after i do my 9 mins of weighted exercise?


johnykf 6 years ago

hi russel before i had a hole in my chest but after posture correction and done those 2 exercises for 4months my chest looks almost flat only a small dent barely noticable. no one can notice it unless they know i have pectus + building chest seems fixing the problem and ofc i'll keep squats and pull over every day in my workout but remember in pull over u should slowly lower the weight down and feel the stretch in ur rib cage to see a good result.

russel 6 years ago

hey thanks johnykf you've been a real help.

can i just ask what exercises you did? how long for and howy many times a week?

johnykf 6 years ago

ur welcome russel and yes ive been doing those 2 weighted exercises pull over and squat 5days a week followed by my workout routine. about how many times, u should start with breathing squats for at least 20 times and if u reach 10 or whatever and got tired don't stop, take 2 or 3 deep breathes between reps until u reach 20. after that, immediately do breathing pull over for 20times (remember u can do more if u want, like another 2 sessions for 12times), its the same as breathing squats breath out and in between reps until u reach 20. some other useful tips when doing those exercises, inhale and hold ur breath in the way down and up, then when u come back to normal position exhale bcz keeping air in ur stomach will stretch the ribcage even better. hope i helped mate good luck:)

russel 6 years ago

thanks johnykf you've been a real help. i don't think i'll be able to do as many as 5 times a week as i have school work and football to attend but i will try to do atleast 3 times a week :)sorry to bother you but could you just explain how i would do those squats? because i know various types of squats and not sure which one to do?

thanks again :)

johnykf 6 years ago

np russel. it's called breathing squat, it's the same as normal squat but as u reach the standing positionof the squat rest for a sec and take 1 to 3 deep breathes into ur chest so u'll be able to do more reps.that's why they called it breathing squat. for more information how to do it check

johnykf 6 years ago

reps 1 - 7, take one breath between each rep

reps 8 - 13, take two breaths between each rep

rep 14 - 20, take 3 breaths between each rep.

johnykf 6 years ago


is it possible for me to do the squats qith one dumbell in each hand as i don't own a barbell?

and if you don't mind me asking how big is your P.E now?


russel 6 years ago

sorry johnykf i wrote your name down as mine lol

johnykf 6 years ago

no man u gotta do it with barbell+ almost no pe now since my chest getting bigger+ expanding the ribcage

russel 6 years ago

ah man :( well i don't own a barbell or go to gym. im just gonna be doing dumbbell pullovers and breathing and stretching exercises. how did you expand your ribcage?

btw im really glad that your pe is almost gone, it gives me hope in a way that i can fix mine too

thanks man

johnykf 6 years ago

if u are under 21 years old pull over will help u so hard expanding the rib cage since ur ribcage will be more elastic, anyways good luck mate.

Troube - 3rd star to the left 6 years ago

Start with some serious lifestyle adjustments to calm you down and deal with all those past and current stressors that have ramped up your CNS stimulation (anxiety). Gotta deal with the long term baggage that erodes your self confidence and your self-image. Effectively manage your stress. Deal with the long term damage that Pectus has caused on your physical and mental health. Poor sleep habits, upper body tightness, excess hardwiring, restlessness, bad breathing, high excitation levels... With a little guidance, stress control, improved sleep habits, plenty of fibrous foods and fresh vegies, making time to eat regular healthy meals, building a healthy cardiovascular system (2 x 20-30 mins walk a day), making an effort to slow down, not train to failure (ever), cutting back on stimulants and you can all turn it all around. Acceptance of your condition, what is required (your exercises) and it will slowly improve - getting into good shape, with a lean, well muscled body will also be a huge asset in your future health status. Just make sure you give your body rest. These lifestyle adjustments will change you - energy will be dedicated to mass building instead of mass burning (stress/cotisol). All the best.

6 years ago

Hi y'all

Two other exercises that have helped me (along with the other suggestions on this board - great work guys) that have improved my posture :-

Scap Push Ups

Shrug - Stand tall - dumbells (very light) - arms straight up - shrug up and down. arms stay straight when you shrug. Both these exercises will also relieve upper body tightness and adjust your posture. 2-3 sets 15-20 reps / 2-3 times a week. Body tight - chest up and breath. I also suggest you never do bench press.

Once again - stress reduction -I advocate walking not just for the cardiovascular training and reduction of hypoxia, advocate it for reducing the amount of total daylight time in which the brain operates in a highly excitatory chemical status. Give your brain downtime.

On stress, try sitting still for 20mins, totally relaxed. How do you react ? How excitable are you ?

Also 5 times a week training is way too much. It takes time - gradually, patiently and you are burning through all your stored energy. You are headed for excess cortisol and adrenal burnout. This will hinder and set you back. Accept that Pectus has limitations - if you are smart you can change.

monty 6 years ago

hey im 18 years old an about 6 ft. an i have PE i believe, i just recently found out what this really was and it scares the hell out of me. But im embarrassed to say but i don't have insurance of any kind and i've never been to a doctor for a check-up or anything of that sort. I jus really hope these exercises work for me, its not a REALLY bad case but it has always made me feel really awkward around other people. Also, i hope it doesn't get worse over the years and i start to have breathing problems of any sort or back. But i do have a slight throbbing in the center of my chest, and i do feel my heart beating like my heart is touching my chest bones and is pushing them in an out in an out. Im just really scared that if i do end up having to get surgery i wont be able to get the surgery done because of the lack of money.

joo 6 years ago

Hello. I am 15 and i consider myself to have a mild P.E. I have been doing bench presses but I am not consistent in it. After these exercises, my middle part of my chest does not seem to be progressing at all, but i do get like few muscles at the end of my chest, near to my armpits. Is this normal? Also, my sternum seems to "crack" when i stretch my body. I have tried running and swimming but my lungs seems to be expanding my ribcage sideways not pushing out my sternum.

RWR 6 years ago

I have moderate to severe pectus and I want to join the Army pretty quick. I'm 17 and am pretty active paintball, runs, bmx. Can it keep me out of the army?

Joeseph Palmeri 6 years ago

What is the proper way to measure PE?

Man 6 years ago

I actually had the pectus excavatam surgery, but not the Nuss Procedure. My surgeon did the other way, where he opens the chest etc. He said he did all he can. By my pedeitrician says the surgery was a failure (didn't improve anything). My case was mild in the first I guess know I try exercising?

silverkeen 6 years ago

Thanks for a good discussion above - a lot of helpful comments.

Here is my small contribution to exercises. Since I realized that for PE condition it is more important to develop the rib cage (the bones, not muscles), the breathing exercises are essential. Some people above gave explanation of BREATHING SQUATS. This exercise bring oxygen shortage that is useful for PULLOVERS (the one with dumbbell on a bench is more effective that those with barbell). But far more effective than pullovers is exercise called RADER CHEST PULL, that you can train every day - in the morning and in the evening for 5 minutes. Here you can find a description of it:

And here also (almost at he bottom of the page):

johnykf 6 years ago

thx for ur helpful comments silverkeen, now i understood from u why breathing squats is needed, to put a high amount of oxygene in the ribs so u will feel good while doing pull over and u will be able to do more reps,anyways wondering in rader chest pull u have to hold ur breath and pull ur ribs as much as u can?

johnykf 6 years ago

also u think vacuum bell will help in the long run?

silverkeen 6 years ago


concerning RADER CHEST PULL - no, I'm not holding my breath more than 3 to 5 sec. I am taking a deep breath, as deep as I can in upper part of the rib cage, and I exhale as soon as I reach the peak.

In this exercise is taking into account the tone of the intercostal inhale muscles. Actually they did the job after finishing the exercise. That is the reason why that doing this exercise in the evening is more effective - when you sleep all of the muscles are relaxed except those that are trained not long ago, i.e. intercostal ones in this case.

But when you are holding your breath you train your exhale intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, which muscles does the opposite - they makes the sternum sink inward. So I am avoid to hold my breath. To inflate some things I am avoid also.

I am doing this exercise regularly since October last year every evening and every morning for 5 to 10 minutes, and I see there is some effect - it is great to see your rib cage changes.

As for the VACUUM BELL - I am using it since February last year, and now the effect of it is remaining till the next day at almost 100%.

There is some return of the deformity after of week of not using it. I've experimented two times with such breaks in treatment to distinguish the effects from vacuum bell and rader chest pull, and first time the results were worse, so both - vacuum bell and rader chest pull - act in synergy.

So it depends on what you consider as "long run". Probably I will give you a satisfactory answer after a few years or so. Till then I continue with these two "instruments" for body repair and improvement.

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

johnykf - the lying stretch supine exercises is very similar to a pullover expect you use an immovable object to stretch and push out the sternum.

the breathing squat expands ribcage and pushes out sternum because of the weight on your shoulders the breathing is restricted to the ribcage area

alex - stretches afterwards preferably

monty - its normal to have your chest throbbing , its due to the flared ribs which opens up access to your heart more. you can try and find some health programs in your area

joo- first of all the middle of the chest, has generally no muscle. if you want to work lower pecs you will just need to build up strength on the bench press. what do you mean by expanding sideways?

RWR - it really depends where you join, and how you go through the medicals, but generally you should be fine and it can do wonders for your chest

Joseph - a Haller index scan

johnykf - for me the vacuum bell is only a temporary solution, and is dangerous at high pressure

Jack 6 years ago

hi, ive been reading this article its very helpful, im going on holiday in 6months and have about a 3cm deep PE i know with these exercises it wont go fully but which are the best exercises to get the best improvements in 6months and how often should i do them? im 6,4 pretty skinny

johnykf 6 years ago

hi expectus u gotta hold ur breath for 8sec while stretching the chest wall in the lying stretch supine exercises?

thx in advance

Sam 6 years ago

Hello I was wondering what are the best excercises for a moderate case of pe because I want to push out my sternum out, I go to the gym every day and lift weights and at the end of every workout I do dumbbell pullover. I had been doing this for 7 months and I improved in strength and muscle tremendously and my overall appearance is good with a good chest appearance but pe is still noticeable so all is left for me is to get my sternum out so my question is what are the best excercises and for how long during the day.

David 6 years ago

Hi Expectus! Thanks a lot for posting the hubs, finally I found good information about PE. My sternum is only a little bit sunken, but I'm worrying about my flared ribs. It looks weird and because of that I've got little self confidence (which is common).

From now on I will follow your instructions and I hope it's going to work, because I don't want to get operated. Could you please tell me how long it takes to see significant changes?

Jason Walton 6 years ago

hello again. i haven't done the stretches for awhile but i've started the gym doing flys and other chest related exercises as well as your exercises and stretches and chucking in some yoga. just to let you know im back on track :)

also my dip makes for an interesting place to rest stuff while watching tv. :D

Jason Walton 6 years ago

hello again. i have gone gym this week alot and i have strained my chest twice. it has been feeling really tight and i couldn't raise my arms above 90 degrees. went for a nap and when i woke up my chest felt loosened up and it seems flatter. might be abit swollen i don't know.

Ben 6 years ago

I heard that pilates will help with PE. It drastically improves your posture and includes many breathing exercises. Do you have a certain Pilates book or video you could recommend?

David 6 years ago

Hi again, in my last post from a few days ago I said I would start following your instructions. I did, but now I'm feeling pain in my sternum (especially in the top) for like four days. Please help!

Dan 6 years ago

T - Those shrugs work wonders in repositioning my chest and are clearly the best exercise I have come across. What a change ! Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

David 6 years ago

Dan - Hi Dan, great to read a positive reaction! For how long have you been doing that exercise already? And what kind of change do you see? I think I'm going to do it too!

richard 6 years ago

What are shrugs ?

Laura 5 years ago

Hello. im 19 and have really bad upper back pain which the doctor says is caused by my PE which is pushing my ribcage back and causing my spine to curve. Will these exercises also help my back pain? would be great to speak to anyone else with this problem that has found anythink to help!?

ddddd 5 years ago

hey, i have a mild case... about 1 cm... i have started to do the exercises but i was wondering... first off, once i fix it to where i want it, are the results permanent or should i keep doing the stretches? second, with such a mild case, can a brace work? if so, again, are the results permanent? and where can i find the best quality brace and at what time of day should i wear it? any help would be appreciated greatly... thanks!!

Will  5 years ago

I have pe and i am thinking about getting a brace. If i do, should i still do the exercises?

Dave 5 years ago

I have PE and through weight training i have started to grow some of the muscle down into the deformed sternum. I just wanted to know if there is a weight lifting exercise that will work on the central muscles so that i can grow those more and try to make them grow towards the center of my sternum

Dave 5 years ago

By the way im 17 years old, 6'3" 150lbs and my PE is around 2 inches

Mitch 5 years ago

Im 16 im on the track team and about to do cross country but this problem with p.e. seems like its trying to stop me from reaching high expectations.When I was little ill ammit I never paid attention to my posture so I know the problem.The fact is it seems like im trying harder and harder breathing wise. And had no clue why.. But I heard this is the problem. But what im trying to get at is: -will i get any better at running(and breathing wise.) -And how long will it take?

silverkeen 5 years ago

Dave, weight lifting wouldn't help much against pectus condition. Except those exercises that include very deep breathing.

Besides, there are no muscles above the sternum to increase their volume.

Yet there are two weight lifting exercises that are very useful - breathing squats and pullover, but if performing them with deepest possible breathing.

But as I take it - don't waste your time with heavy weights. Since the time is most valuable thing at your age, and if you miss this moment later it will become harder for any change. So - do breathing exercises, especially Rader chest pull (I've mention this exercise in comments above). It takes months to gain improvement, but it really works.

Michael 5 years ago

I was wondering if i have pectus. My left side is about half an inch deeper than my right. My back is also uneven my right is bigger same goes with every other part of my body my right is bigger

rex 5 years ago

hey silverkeen,

im 16 and im going on holiday in about 2 months and want my chest to look good. how many times a day should i do the rader chest pull to see an improvement? my dip is only about 2 cm and 1.5 cm when i pull my shoulders back.


silverkeen 5 years ago

hi rex,

two months is too short time for noticeable improvement, no mater how many times you did the exercise during the day.

I'm doing Rader chest pull once in the morning and once in the evening in 20-25 repeats (inhales/exhales - for 5-8 minutes total per series, depending on how long I hold my breath). For more series during the day I have no strength. I've tried but I'm losing my inhale power.

David 5 years ago

Hi silverkeen,

I guess you're the expert now, since Expectus isn't reacting anymore. My dent is like 1,5 to 2 cm deep and I also have flared ribs. I know the exercises for the dent now, but what do I have to do to repair my flared ribs? I don't want to wear a brace or corset or something. Do you know any good exercises?

silverkeen 5 years ago


I don't consider myself "expert". Just lots of search, ask and try.

As for the flared ribs - since I almost don't have flared ribs, I didn't pay so much attention. Yet every morning I do some kind of "cobra" exercise, mostly for stretching purpose combined with very deep breath. Probably it will help but I wouldn't give guarantee. Also you can train the abdominal muscles. In my opinion for bone shape to change there must be a prolonged, if not constant, influence. I don't know such exercise. In my case expanding the upper part of the rib cage masks flared ribs to some degree.

But if you are so worried about your flared ribs probably you don't have to avoid braces.

David 5 years ago

Hi silverkeen,

Thanks for your reply. I hate my pot belly due to my flared ribs. I hate it that I look fat even though I've almost got no fat.

As for the breathing exercises, am I not pushing my flared ribs out as well?

Allright, I'll try the cobra exercises and I'll work out my abs. Could you please explain some good exercises to expand the ribcage? For example, I don't really understand the rader chest pull and on the internet there isn't much information about it.

silverkeen 5 years ago


It took me about two months to learn how to perform Rader chest pull :)

It is not easy to explain. Probably you have to learn some yoga breathing to understand it. Probably not. But it is fundamental to inhale mostly with your upper part of the ribcage. This way to avoid as much as possible diaphragmal breathing which cause the paradoxal breathing (increasing sunken chest during inspiration) in pectus condition. The muscles that do the job are external intercostal ones, and using hands and external support mainly gives a direction of the inspiration. I.e. to move the upper part of the chest wall onward and slightly upward during the inspiration. During the exhalation you have to loose your hands - this is all passive movement.

This way your lower ribs (and flared ones) almost don't take part in this movement. Also, try to read explanations from links, that I've provided in one of the comments above.

This exercise (Rader chest pull) is for expanding the upper part of the ribcage mainly. But there are pectus excavatum conditions with only a small concavity of the sternum. For this type of the deformity probably the exercise wouldn't be so effective. Don't know.

DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuit 5 years ago

Exercise can help our body maintain a normal posture. Chest exercises also help strengthen chest muscles which are important for those with Pectus excavatum. Back and hip exercises can also be performed for optimal support on the upper torso and extremeties.

I don't have Pectus Excavatum, but I personally have had a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant a few months ago. What's bothering me now are the lawsuits and complaints filed by those harmed with the Pinnacle device. I'm still learning and reading more about its updates on the site.

What are your impressions on the complaints filed by those harmed from the Pinnacle device?

David 5 years ago


Thanks for your extensive reply! So only during the rader chest pull I have to do the breathing with my chest? Because my doctor told me to always breathe with my belly. Breathing mainly with your chest causes bad breathing.

Well, I'll try the rader chest pull again from now. Can't you post something on YouTube or something (just asking)?

The problem is, I've been doing the breathing exercise sometimes since December 2010 and since then I've been experiencing pain in my (upper) chest, in the sternum. Everytime I'm pushing out my sternum along with deep breathing (the breathing exercise)I'm experiencing pain and sometimes it's cracking a bit.

Even if I'm not doing the exercises anymore, sometimes my sternum gets 'stiff' and then I'm feeling pressure on my sternum. So I push it out and then it cracks a bit...

silverkeen 5 years ago

Hi David,

Breathing with chest is only for correction purpose during this exercise, it is not a breathing instruction for daily life. Actually men breathes with belly, while women breathes mostly with chest. But this is not important for pectus condition since in one normal breath you take about 500 ml of air, while in Rader chest pull breathing you have to inhale several liters of air (as much as possible, and... even more next time).

For observable effect you have to do breathing exercises regularly for at least 3-4 months, probably more, and for relatively constant results probably years.

As for the pain in the sternum - I consider this is normal, it is the tendon and muscles (intercostal ones) that hurts there. Often it is a muscle fever. I experience pain also but it not bothers me.

But don't try to push your sternum using lungs, it could be harmful. Use for this Rader chest pull.

Cracks "in sternum" are actually in ribs joints and cartilages.

David 5 years ago

Hi silverkeen,

Wow, thanks! I already thought it were my intercostal muscles which hurt and the cartilages which crack. And I'm also glad it's normal. Well, thanks for your help and I'll keep doing those exercises!

James 5 years ago

Hi, Silverkeen

I have about a 3cm deep pectus chest, was wondering what's the best exercise to do to see the most significant improvement in 2months + i know in 2months nothing much will probably happen but im going away then and would like to know what i can start doing now im very tall and slim

David 5 years ago

Hi James,

I know I'm not silverkeen but I'd like to talk with others about pectus. Perhaps we could exchange some ideas.

I think he would recommend the rader chest pull to expand the ribcage and push the sternum a bit forward. Search these comments (or those in part 1 or in 'What is pectus excavatum') for information about the rader chest pull.

Furthermore, you can do the stretching exercises from this topic to loosen your muscles. You have to do these exercises frequently, like two times a day. It doesn't take much time.

A good posture is important! Shoulder shrugs can also help you to achieve a good posture.

Lastly, you could do the breathing exercises Expectus explained in one of his topics and you can do something like jogging or swimming.

Good luck!

silverkeen 5 years ago

Hi James, (and thank you, David, you are riht)

I wish I'd heard of such short time exercise. But I didn't.

I use to apply vacuum bell (kind of device for nonsurgical treatment of pectus excavatum) last year for 11 months and it really accomplish short time outcomes that lasts for minutes after first applications and for days after several months of regular application. But despite I find it very helpful for decreasing indentation it didn't expand at all my ribcage. What is more, vacuum bell somehow totally eliminates the effect of Rader chest pull. Can't explain why but after lots of trial and error now I've stopped using vacuum bell at all and use only Rader chest pull exercise for rib cage expanding and for indent correction. I find it much more helpful than vacuum bell.

So, if you have enough rib cage volume and your only problem is small indent of sternum, you can try vacuum bell. You can read here a medical survey for this device:

David 5 years ago

Hi silverkeen,

Do you think dumbbell pullovers will also help pushing the sternum forward?

And by the way, why are there so few people commenting here? Are they discussing somewhere else? Do you know?

Matt 5 years ago

Hey I'm 19 with about 3cm deep PE and slightly flared ribs. Would wearing a brace defeat the purpose of doing the rader pulls if it only constricts the lateral sides of your ribs and not the sternum?

daniel? 5 years ago

I was told reposturing techniques help, do you know if that is true

daniel? 5 years ago

I was told reposturing techniques help, do you know if that is true

Dnilra 5 years ago

HI , I`m 17 and have slightly PE. What kind of exercises should I do to get my chest look normal as I have to go in october in a trip with my class to the sea and don`t want to look like I do now. (sorry for my english)

Random23 5 years ago

I have flared ribs. It makes me look like I have a pot belly. I feel really uncomfortable in bathing suits. I'm embarrass to talk to my parents. Will I grow out of them or will I have to do lots of exercises to get them away?

ordinaryguy 5 years ago


I have same problem, flared ribs. I hope someone will answer us what exercises to do to fix flared ribs.

Asker  5 years ago

hi I also have pectus and I am going to start to do those exercises. But how long do you thing it will take?? Do you thing it will be normal till next summer(1 year later) ?? Thanks

Kid 8 5 years ago

hey so the 3 exercises under the daily routine category will really improve the PE to return to a normal chest? How long will the process take? And will working out your chest like at the gym on the machines affect the PE to become worse?

KM 5 years ago

For those in Sydney, Australia, there is a Dr Richard Chard at Westmead Hospital who treats PE (either Ravitch or Nuss) and if you have private health insurance, it becomes fairly affordable. I initially thought I had to pay tens of thousands of dollars for an operation, but my insurance brought it down to $5000 - of which a further $3500 would be covered by a different clause in my policy, meaning all I had to pay was $1500.

steven 5 years ago


steven 5 years ago

Sorry my little brother wrote that!

I just wanted to see if anyone could suggest which brace is best.

Josh d 5 years ago

How long would it take to improve my PE if I do this exercises once every day?

Julius 5 years ago

This forum is making me really frustrated to read. I feel really sorry for all you guys with PE. The straight truth is that EXERCISES WILL NOT CURE PE. The only cure for PE is surgery. Any type of chest exercises that build muscle will make it appear WORSE because increasing the size of the pec muscles will make the dent appear deeper and larger. Additionally most PE is assymetrical and this will also add to the worsened appearance. Braces will only give a TEMPORARY cure at best on young kids with flexible bones. On adults they are a total waste of time. Nuss is the way to go, yes its expenive (approx price of a new car) but it works. I am 38 years old and had this 3 years ago with excellent results. On younger people/kids its much easier. To that guy who doesn't want his 14yo son to have the OP - WHY?? Its madness not to. 14 is the perfect age. Then afterwards you can start to exercise and look like a cover model!!!

alex 5 years ago

is it true that these beathing exercises can give you high blood pressure?

Will 5 years ago

Hi, I am 187 cm (about 6.1 I think) and I weigh 64kg. I have pectus excavatum and I have started noticing it from when I was 13-14. Now I am 15 and I want to fix my minor pectus excavatum. I read here that doing these exercises could make it worse and cause one side of your chest be higher. Mine look pretty even, so should I do some of these exercises? So do you do 30 repititions a day during 4 sessions or 30 repititions in 1 session and 4 sessions a day? Thanks.

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expectus 5 years ago from Land Downunder Author

apologies for not replying to questions, have been a bit flooded lately , will try and answer them over the next few days if i can

Will - for me doing weights and exercise did not make one side of my chest higher, its true you may have one pec muscle which is slightly smaller depending on the location of your sunken sternum (more left or right) , me personally do 1 session a day for anything strength related but i do breathing and stretching twice a day.

alex- have never heard that before alex, you may have to consult your doctor if your worried about high blood pressure, but breathing in deeply should help oxygenate your blood.

andy 5 years ago

hey expectus, thanks so much for your hub, its really helped. Can u maybe link me to a website to buy a posture brace that will help me with flared ribs? also will improving the flared ribs help the pectus as well? im 14 and was wondering if that's a good thing or a bad thing that im younger. also is there any other weighted exercises i could do that would help. Thanks!

David 5 years ago

Hi Expectus! You're still alive!

I've posted some comments now and then since 8 months ago (I also sent you an e-mail once, which you haven't replied yet). That's when I started to do your exercises (in the beginning more frequent than nowadays). I still have my problems: the worst is my pot belly due to my flared ribs. Furthermore, I've got a dent, like 2 cm deep. I think your exercises haven't really worked for me yet... :(

Any suggestions?

lol piyush joshi 5 years ago


i want 2 join army and my PE is 1.7 cms, iam 21 yrs old height is 5'8" .B.M.I check up criteria is:-

The body is check for its appropriate weight, height and chest sizes. The chest should expand minimum 5 cms while inhalation.

Would i get through it.

P.S. U r doing a great job...helping people with their deformity is such a selfless deed..keep it up.

hello 5 years ago

great article!

I have PE , I'm 17 and I'm trying to resolve this estetical problem. The thing is, after a while of doing this kind of exercises , my 'pectum' sure got wider, but my lower chest/ribs went a bit further than the pecs' level, so now when I put a shirt on it looks like I have some strange bump between my stomach and pecs. I tried to resolve this by sitting face-down on my stomach, extending my back, so I level up my ribs or something.

Any suggestions on how to put the pecs more in front and the lower ribs to remain in position or something?

Also, I'm wondering, is PE ALWAYS a repairable thing? at any age? cause i'm very concerned that after I pass like 20+ years my ribcage will be more stiff and won't allow much mobility or something.

Please respond, I wanna talk to someone like you.


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expectus 5 years ago from Land Downunder Author

daniel - yes posture correction will definitely help pe

andy - i have some links to posture vests on this page, mostly on amazon but you can usually buy them from your local pharmacy/chemist

David - sorry I haven't replied to your email, that address is flooded so much with spam since i gave it out its impossible to separate the genuine stuff.

you say you still have a pot belly, unfortunately pe does give you that pot belly look and if you have any weight around your midsection it will show. You can always try some abdominal work, and try doing some stomach vacuum exercises. 2cm deep is quite moderate if you tense your abs are you able to bring your abs in?

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expectus 5 years ago from Land Downunder Author

lol piyush joshi - that's very interesting about the 5 cm expansion, what about people who breath into their abdomen instead of up into their chests :P

good luck and I'm happy to help , as I too have PE

hello - to me it sounds like you have made improvement and your ribs are coming down and then coming in slowly, its normal for it to go chest/ribs/stomach. I know that it looks a bit strange but the next step will just be to work on your abdominal to try and bring in those ribs

and regarding age, it is true that the older you get the less malleable your bones get but i've heard of guys over 40 correcting their pe so I wouldn't be too worried about it, all the best

Charlie 5 years ago

please, tell me... do i have to do ALL the exercises??

or just 1 or 2??

Charlie 5 years ago

is the same guy from the above comment, please give me your GMAIL , i need to talk to you (srs)

Filip 5 years ago


I am 29 yrs old and have this PE thing. It's not that it's too bad, and it certainly doesn't give me any problems, but I wish I could correct that somehow. I am so against the surgery, since it is not too deep (2 cm maybe) and it is not giving me breathing problems, but it does look funny. So - I am going to the gym, I do exercise, but I do not see any progress. Can you tell me, from your experience, is it possible to correct this in my age? And if it is, can you tell me what exercise, how many reps, and how often should I do? And what is the best way (except surgery) to flatten my ribs? THanks a lot in advance.

Patel 5 years ago


i am 16 years old and 6'3 tall.i tried many exersises

but not it safe to get a surgery or nuss bar procedure?is it safe to put bar under chest?what about infection under chest.

Jeremy 5 years ago


I am 21 years old 6'5" tall and have a pretty bad PE, i think the cat scan said 5cm between the deepest point and my spine. anyways, i looked into surgery when i was younger but decided against it. One thing i have noticed lately is that i can take a really deep breath and tighten my abs and my chest will actually pop like cracking a knuckle or something. This makes me thing there is significant this a good thing or is this dangerous? i asked my chiropractor and he was not sure. thoughts?

sk 5 years ago

@Filip, try Rader Chest pull (I've mention it above) - 20 reps in the morning and 20 reps in the evening. As deep as you can. I'll see improvement in less than a year.


I think if you do deep breaths (in Rader Chest pull mode) regularly pops and cracks will be decreased. In the beginning don't try so hard (first week).

Later you can try vacuum bell - it helps more in worst PE conditions.

Elizabeth V. 5 years ago

Hi I'm Elizabeth and I'm 17 5'0 and I have PE it's pretty deep and it makes my ribs stick out alot. I have trouble sleeping because The only way i can sleep is facing down and it feels like my ribs are being crushed at times. I have considered surgery but it's just too expensive. I was wondering if these exercizes will really help and if I should get a back brave because I have scoliosis as well but it's only 5%

Thak you so much

inam 5 years ago

i think it will be good for me.perhaps it will work out. thanks for guiding.

alex 5 years ago

hey expectus, if i do the broomtwist exercise and bring in my flaired ribs will my pot belly look go down?

jono 5 years ago

expectus - I am 15 years old, 5,10. i consider myself to have a mild degree of PE but im not 100% sure. can you please inform me on an efficient and easy way to find out the degrees or your chest and how deep it is and howw to be able to tell if you are mild, moderate, severe ect.

any advice will be with taken with gratitude.

Mitch 5 years ago


I am 22 and i had PE for a while now. I believe its 1inch deep or so.

I have been lifting weights and just now started do different push ups and various ab work outs.

Also have been doing broom twists & breathing routines.

Am I on a good track? Can I really improve my PE this way?

artesa 5 years ago

hi im 17 years old and im 1.66 taller and i have P.E FOR LIKE 2 YEARS i haven't tryed any extercises my P.E isn't very big but i want to fixs it do you think this extercises will help me thank you

Tyler 5 years ago

I hope these exercises help me, I probably have a mild to moderate rate of PE, but with these, breathing exercises, and how I keep doing exercising mon-fri I hope to increase it well, the only problem i have is flared ribs... I hope it gets fixed soon, thanks for the info!

artesa 5 years ago

please can you tell me if these extercises will help me or should i do an operation im 17 and my PE isn't very big please give me answer

Nicholas 5 years ago

Hello, im Nicholas im 14 years old and i have P.E and i live in lebanon and people are very judgemental at the beach

Im 5 11 and i weigh like 112 but i eat like a pig. Every half hour i eat something but still no weight gain

And on top of all that at my school the students enjoy fights, i do too but i never win so i take up fighting lessons to use my opponents weight against them

I wear a back brace and do the breathing exercises and a few exercises a doctor game me to make my ribs pop back out because that's all i have time for because of homework

So Expectus, can you give me 2 or 3 exercises to do in the time that i have please?

restrelax profile image

restrelax 5 years ago from Los angeles CA

Awesome information on hub. Thanks for sharing

lewis 5 years ago

hey mate thanks for the advice!

I've just turned 16 I'm 5"11 and I have what I would say is mild P.E. I also have stretch marks on my back and flared ribs these are my main concern as they make me very self concious. You said in the article about swimming and I would love to but the fact that it feels like everyone is watching me when I swim really dints my confidence.

I was wondering if there is any other sports that really help. Without having to take off my shirt. Thanks a lot I start tomorrow! :D

ALEX 5 years ago

hey expectus, baically my PE is 2cm deep. i'm 17 and going on holiday with my friends this year in 6 months time and want to take off my top without being afraid. i'm intending to do 28 breathing exercises, 40 chest stretches and 30weighted exercises two times a week. i will also do another 28 breathing and 40 chest stretches two times a week.(4 sessions per week in total)

do you think i will have good appearance of chest in 6 months time?

ALEX 5 years ago

by the way. where did you get these exercises from? Is there any data which proves that it works?

thanks again

nige 5 years ago

i've read that you say a posture vest can help you? how exactly would this improve my PE? thank you

DJ 4 years ago

Great article mate thanks, have just started weighr training to help improve appearance as mine is more cosmetic than anything, but will now try your stretching exercises aswell, great advice, cheers..

Colyn 4 years ago

Hey, thanks for posting this article it's a good feeling knowing I'm not the only one with P.E. I'm 16 yrs old and 5ft 6 and 110 lb's, I was wondering because I've been working out for a while now hoping to add some muscle mass and to get get overall, bigger. I wanted to know if by weight training would my P.E. worsen?

Gavin 4 years ago

Awesome article, I will start trying all these workouts asap. I'm curious, say you were to get you're posture corrected and your PE completely unnoticeable, would you have to continue these workouts to maintain the correction?

Morina 4 years ago

Do you have any proof that a posture brace can correct flared ribs?

I have a flared rib cage and seeking to correct this. I have terrible posture so I do believe the posture brace will be a good thing to start doing regardless, but I am curious if anyone has had success in fixing their flared ribs by using a posture brace.

Morina 4 years ago

Is there any proof that a posture brace will fix a flared rib cage?

Catherine 4 years ago

Hi all, I'm a mother of a 13 year old boy in Australia. I noticed the indent in his chest and flared ribs becoming more prominent in the last year (he has grown heaps in last 6 months or so). Finding help for this condition has been a bit of an ordeal really because local doctors seem to have little knowledge of such things. Thank god for the internet though eh? ... Anyhow, I surfed upon a medical facility in Brazil that uses custom-made braces for flared ribs. They have the before and after shots to show the very impressive improvement in flattening ribs (as well as other pectus problems). I think it's called Centrico Clinico Orthopectus. I thought there must be someone in Australia who can make these things...had to hunt around and found that Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital makes braces for flared ribs at the Orthotics Dept. You have to get referral to their relevant orthopaedic guy (who was Alex Auldist as ExPectus said a while back, but it is now a guy called Joe Camiri or Cameri (something like that). Brace is about $550 (AU). As we live near Sydney, I then thought surely Westmead Children's Hospital should have something similar. Saw Orthopaedic guy Michael Bellemore and then Sean Hogan in the orthotics dept. at the hospital. Sean has custom-made a brace for my son's flared ribs (after making a plaster cast of his chest). The brace cost $390 (AU) and although my son has only had it for a week, there is already a very noticeable improvement. He has to wear it fulltime (except for shower and swimming or contact sport) for 9 months to 2 years depending on the progress. Hope this helps someone out there...(try the orthotics Department of any large children's hospital)... It can be a lonely and tough journey to have a problem that few people understand or can help you with. SO...on that note..I want to say thank you to ExPectus for all his wonderful advice and great patience (especially as he often has to repeat himself). Good on you ExPectus and all the best to you and your readers.

Nathan 4 years ago

I had surgery for mine without the medal bar at christ hospital and it didn't fully fix mine... So I've been lifting weights in hope of at least masking it . Am I gonna risk injury if I lift to heavy or will it be beneficial to my chest?

Kyle 4 years ago

I had the metal rod done in 1999 when I was 11 years old. I had it taken out in 2002. I recently started doing some exercises that Bruce Lee did and have noticed a big difference in the past month.

matt 4 years ago

I had p.e on both sides of my chest but now only have it on my left side, my right side has corrected itself some how, why is this?

Josh 4 years ago

This has been a major help. Thank you.

Yeser 4 years ago

I have P.E and I'm 15 years old. Do these exercises work for a 15 years old youth? And do you have any other advices for me? The problem is that I have moderate P.E and fast metabolism!

Yeser 4 years ago

I have P.E and I'm 15 years old. I have a perfect posture. Do these exercises work for a 15 years old youth? And do you have any other advices for me? The problem is that I have moderate P.E and fast metabolism!

Please answer these questions:

1- Is doing these exercises in my age more effective than doing them when I'm older?

2- How can I make sure that my chest pulls out and my ribs come back in? What if only parts of my chest pulled out, and the ribs changed in an ugly way?

3- I'm in Syria. There are no P.E surgeons or tools. All I can do is excersise. So, I really need a long routine and advice from you for my age. My life depends on it!

Thank you for these articles! Please give me long descriptions :)

igbaria 4 years ago

hey,, i just saw this, 2 years late :)

anyways, i'm 25 years old, and i wounder is it too late for me to do these exercises? are they going to do some changes considering my age ?!

thank you !

Kristin 4 years ago

Guess what? There's a new procedure being tested in California. I just heard it on NPR the one day. The procedure is they are putting a high powered magnet under the chest wall and this works by the patient wears the other part of the magnet in a chest belt overnight and millimeter by millimeter the chest wall grows outward. Apparently average time of treatment is 2 years. The pain factor is little to nothing post op, which is an issue even for the Nuss procedure. Many people end up on pain meds for months post op with Nuss, but with the new procedure they don't. This procedure works best on kids who are still growing and may not be able to be used on adults. But that's great because kids on pain meds is no bueno. My 5 year old daughter has moderate PE. I was excited to hear this.

sk 4 years ago


In my opinion your age is BEST for any solution - exercises or surgery (or both). At your age ribcage is still developing. I think you could expect substantial improvement, if you do the right things and regularly for months, and probably years.

From surgery and exercises I prefer exercises. Especially Rader chest pull (search for it in the comments above). Try it for at least 3-4 months, 2 times a day, every day. If you do notice improvement, then continue. If not, try other exercise - the time is on you side now.

I'm 39 yo now and do this exercise for almost 2 years now. Despite my age I find improvement, especially in upper part of ribcage.


I wish you and your child a good health!

Patrick 4 years ago

Hey. Im 14 and i have pe. Ive been looking at your site the past couple of weeks and have been trying my hardest to work on the exercises provided. I haven't seen a ton of improvement but i wanted to know if its just too soon to start seeing results. (I can be very impatient). My chest sinks abiut 3 cm. It doesn't bother my breathing, however, its hard not to get picked on going to the pool or any time having my shirt off. I just would like to know which exercises would be more affective and take the least amount of time.

PS- I also apreciate your help for everybody here. This is what we need now-a-days! Thanks!:)

Nathaniel wulforst 3 years ago

Thank you so much. From now one ill do these exercises every day and I'm 15 and this I think will be a huge confidence booster because I don't swim or do anything that requires no shirt in front of people because of it

anne 3 years ago

Hi! I'm 22 years old and I have PE. I plan to have the surgery next year, Ravitch technique, because I have some money troubles. My chest is uneven, is quite severe. I want to know if there are some exercises I can do, I don't want my chest diformity to evolve until the surgery. Please help me! Thank you!

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expectus 3 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hello Anne, if you are going to get the surgery in the near future the best things you can do are maintain good posture and practice deep breathing exercises as long as they don't cause pain

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Brandonsnowpe 3 years ago

Hi I have a pectus excavatum and it is about 1-2 inches deep if I did about 30-40 push ups a day would this help me at all ?

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expectus 3 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hello Brandonsnowpe, pushups may help a bit especially if you are just starting out and have overstretched back muscles. I know that push ups don't directly work the back but it will work it to some extent and help.

If you hold a plank type hold, a partial push up this may help even further. Hope that helps

3 years ago

This is a great page!

I have PE as well, plus my lower left rib flares out. I was thinking of taking your advice and buying a posture vest to fix the rib flare...but do you think it will straighten the sides of of my rib cage as well? At the moment there is a sort of indent there, but when I push my rib flare in that side sort of fills out and looks more straight.

I was apprehensive about wearing a posture vest as I don't want it to make the sides of my rib cage look any narrower, but I think because of its affect on the rib flare it might actually help fill out and realign it.

What do you think? :) I hope I haven't confused you!

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expectus 3 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hello J,

generally posture vests are very helpful for flared ribs as the act of fixing posture it sometimes enough to bring back your ribs into their neutral position.

I can't recall the exact website but there was one company specializing in pectus excavatum braces and had before and after pictures and they looked very promising for fixing flared ribs, hopefully you can google it

I'm not sure that it would make you appear narrower , it won't bring in your ribcage anymore than normal. hope that helps a bit , good luck

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Rollyrollypolly 3 years ago

Thank you for your quick reply expectus. I will definitely look into trying out a posture brace then. How long does it take to notice improvement? I guess I should wear it pretty much non stop too...apart from in showers and stuff hehe

EDIT: I'm 'J' by the way! Just signed up on hub now

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expectus 3 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hey J aka Rollypolly ,

it really changes from person to person , it is usually a lot quicker for younger people because there bones are more malleable but the fastest time i have heard of is about 3 months

yea they usually tell you to wear them all day and night and only take them off to wash

rollyrollypolly 3 years ago

Thank you for your help expectus. Will hopefully be coming back to this page with good feedback then!

Sergio 3 years ago

Hey am 17 yrs old, can a pillow under back help me and doing the breathing excercise at the same time? Also i have mu left rib sticking out doing abb excersice can help me get it to look normal?

Adrian 3 years ago

Hey I'm 20, My PE is mild but still very noticeable so I'd love to improve it, reading these exercises got me kind of confused they are all 4 sessions per day and 8 exercises in total so if I'm correct this is like a 3 hours workout every day?

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expectus 3 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Sergio - Yep a small pillow underneath your back directly behind your sternum can help get a better stretch when doing breathing exercises , for flared ribs you can do abdominal exercises , some people have also had success with posture braces.

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expectus 3 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Adrian - 4 sessions would be a bit too much to start off with you can always start with 1-2 sessions , I believe 4 sessions was recommended but I've found even 1 session is enough to feel a stretch and push on the sternum

usually I will rotate exercises so I am not doing the same ones everyday and just listen to your body so if your doing strength type exercises make sure your muscles have time to rest if they are sore

Adrian 3 years ago

thank you very much expectus

Istvan 3 years ago

Hello, I'm 21 and I have a moderate form of PE. 7/10.

I'm 6'0" and weight 175. I have been lifting and staying in shape

since middle school.

My PE has not improved from exercise and I Doubt any exercises

will improve it.

I have heard however that at a younger age the PE deformity can be repaired by simply wearing a rib brace.

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expectus 3 years ago from Land Downunder Author


the braces will most likely correct flared ribs but not have a huge effect on the sternum, but it may move a little bit outwards.

what sort of exercises are you doing at the gym? the usual things like dumbbell pullovers and fly's for your chest? you might want to try some breathing exercises but I have found dumbbell pullovers quite effective as long as i take deep breaths into my chest when I do it

Daphne Young 3 years ago

Has everyone on this post officially been diagnosed with PE? I ask this because, as you might haven noticed, many writers have stated that they are more than six feet tall and have some other health issues too. Please be sure to be properly diagnosed because other disorders, such as Marfans Syndrome, (which is dangerous and can be deadly), are sometimes misdiagnosed as PE.

My son has PE and is 6'3" and 115 pounds now at 19 years old. When he was born, he was diagnosed as having an under-developed esophagus, which caused him to spit up his baby formula. I guess this was actually part of the PE.

Be well everyone.

Titus 3 years ago


I'm doing these exercises for a couple of weeks.

The first exercise ("Forward arm stretching in pone kneeling") would be the same as the Rader Chest Pull?

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will morgan98 3 years ago

Hi. Im 15 and have moderate pe. Im about 5ft 4" and I've been to a gp and a paediatrician and all they have said is that i need to wait and see what happens when im older. They said they would only consider doing anything when im 18. I dont really know what to do. Ive had mild pains in the sternum area for a while but the doctor said it was nothing. Is there anyway to have the surgery without the nhs (im from the uk) or do i have to try and correct it like u have. I also have mild hypermobility in case that affects anything

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